Press Conference 13 January 2006

  1. The Meeting on Early Response to the Potential Influenza Pandemic in Asia
  2. The Orientation Program for the United States Forces in Japan (USFJ)
  3. Visits by Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Yasuhisa Shiozaki to the Republic of the Philippines, Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of Indonesia
  4. Presidential Inauguration Ceremony in Monrovia, Republic of Liberia
  5. Visits by Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Akiko Yamanaka to the Kingdom of Belgium, United Kingdom, Republic of Slovenia, and the Republic of Austria
  6. Dispatch of Ambassador on Special Mission to the Inauguration Ceremony of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
  7. Visit to Japan by Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Karen Koning AbuZayd
  8. Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on the resumption of uranium enrichment-related research and development activities by Islamic the Republic of Iran
  9. Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) activities
  10. Assistance to the "Isolated and Disenfranchised Communities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory" project
  11. Questions concerning visit to Japan by Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher R. Hill of the US
  12. Questions concerning money laundering by North Korea
  13. Question concerning US military transformation
  14. Follow-up questions concerning Meeting on Early Response to the Potential Influenza Pandemic in Asia

  1. The Meeting on Early Response to the Potential Influenza Pandemic in Asia

    Deputy Press Secretary Tomohiko Taniguchi: After a three weeks' recess of the Regular Press Conference for Foreign Press, it now restarts today. During the past three weeks, there have been a number of significant diplomatic events, such as Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Aso's visit to the Republic of India and Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to the Republic of Turkey, about which I would be happy to take questions afterwards.

    May I simply say that we at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to commit ourselves to being as accessible as possible, and providing you with as much information and background knowledge as possible in the timeliest manner.

    First off the diplomatic schedule of the Foreign Ministry looks as follows:

    Between 12 and 13 January Japan and the World Health Organization (WHO) are jointly holding the "Meeting on Early Response to the Potential Influenza Pandemic in Asia," here at the Foreign Ministry.

    Related Information (Senior Vice-Minister's Remarks)

  2. The Orientation Program for the United States Forces in Japan (USFJ)

    Mr. Taniguchi: Next week from 17 to 20 January, we will be hosting what is called Orientation Program for the United States Forces in Japan (USFJ).

    This is an annual event aiming at letting newly appointed officers of the USFJ familiarize themselves on things Japanese. A wide range of topics will be covered and discussed in a very much laid-back setting, and I am personally looking forward to joining them. Approximately twenty officers from the components of the USFJ are expected to take part.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  3. Visits by Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Yasuhisa Shiozaki to the Republic of the Philippines, Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of Indonesia

    Mr. Taniguchi: Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Yasuhisa Shiozaki, is now visiting Republic of the Philippines, the Kingdom of Thailand and Republic of Indonesia. The first leg of his tour started in Manila on 11 January. This year, Japan and the Philippines are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their bilateral diplomatic relationship, and Mr. Shiozaki went to Manila to officially launch a serial of cultural exchanges that both Governments are jointly hosting. He then flew to Bangkok, Thailand yesterday on the 12th, and is spending four days in the Thai capital, meeting a host of high ranking officials. He will then be visiting Indonesia from the 15th for two days to talk about matters of mutual concern.

    Related Information (Japan-Philippines Relations)
    Related Information (Japan-Thailand Relations)
    Related Information (Japan-Indonesia Relations)

  4. Presidential Inauguration Ceremony in Monrovia, Republic of Liberia

    Mr. Taniguchi: On 16 January, a Presidential Inauguration Ceremony will take place in Monrovia, Republic of Liberia. The Government of Japan will dispatch Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Shintaro Ito, as Special Envoy of the Prime Minister, to attend the ceremony to swear in Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, as President.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  5. Visits by Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Akiko Yamanaka to the Kingdom of Belgium, United Kingdom, Republic of Slovenia, and the Republic of Austria

    Mr. Taniguchi: From 11 to 19 January, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Akiko Yamanaka is on a tour, visiting the Kingdom of Belgium, United Kingdom (UK), Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Austria. The main purpose of her trip is to officially open our Embassy in Slovenia. On this occasion Ms. Yamanaka is making herself available for seminars and conferences in a number of places. May I say also that she is an academic, specializing in international conflict prevention and resolution.

    Related Information (Japan-Belgium Relations)
    Related Information (Japan-U.K. Relations)
    Related Information (Japan-Slovenia Relations)
    Related Information (Japan-Austria Relations)

  6. Dispatch of Ambassador on Special Mission to the Inauguration Ceremony of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

    Mr. Taniguchi: On 11 January, Mr. Nobutaka Machimura, Member of the House of Representatives and former Foreign Minister, was in Astana, the Republic of Kazakhstan, to attend the inauguration ceremony of President Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbaev. He was there as Ambassador on Special Mission representing Japanese Government.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  7. Visit to Japan by Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Karen Koning AbuZayd

    Mr. Taniguchi: Now to Japan, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Karen Koning AbuZayd, will be making a visit from 15 to 18 January.

    During her stay in Japan, Ms. AbuZayd will meet the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, key officials of the Government, and the members of the Japanese Palestinian Parliamentarians' Friendship League to exchange wide-ranging views on measures to assist the Palestinian refugees in the wake of the progress made in the Middle East peace process, such as the successful disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

    Ms. AbuZayd will also give a lecture at Waseda University on "Palestinian refugees in Changing Political and Socio-economic Circumstances." The handout about the seminar is available and the seminar itself is open to the public and the press.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  8. Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on the resumption of uranium enrichment-related research and development activities by Islamic the Republic of Iran

    Mr. Taniguchi: Next, let me introduce a statement issued of late by the Press Secretary and that was about the resumption of uranium enrichment-related research and development activities by Islamic Republic of Iran. The statement goes as follows:

    Japan deems it a matter of deep regret that, on 10 January Iran removed seals installed at the uranium enrichment-related facilities in Natanz to resume "research and development" activities with regard to "the peaceful nuclear energy programme," disregarding the concerns of the international community.

    The resumption of uranium enrichment-related research and development activities runs counter to the requirements in the agreement reached between the EU-3 (French Republic, Federal Republic of Germany and the United Kingdom) and Iran in November, 2004 (Paris Agreement) as well as the relevant International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors Meeting resolutions. It also undermines the basis of negotiations between the EU-3 and Iran for a peaceful and diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.

    Japan strongly calls on Iran to immediately cease the resumption of the research and development activities and to implement sincerely all the requirements of the relevant IAEA Board of Governors Meeting resolutions including the suspension of all the uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities without exception.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  9. Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) activities

    Mr. Taniguchi: Before opening the floor, I must add as usual some of the announcements on Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) activities.

    To the Republic of Kenya, a grant aid will be extended, the amount of which is about US$15.3 million. People in Kenya will benefit from this aid, which will help improve the living conditions for some of their underprivileged farmers.

    Next to the Republic of Congo, a food aid totaling about US$3.3 million to the Republic of Congo will be extended.

    To the Republic of Zimbabwe, a grant aid of up to US$2.6 million will be given in order to cover the Project for Infectious Disease Prevention for Children through the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

    To the Republic of Lithuania, a cultural grant aid of up to US$380,000 will be extended. People in Lithuania will be using the money to improve some of the music instruments of their renowned State Symphony Orchestra.

    Related Information (Japan's ODA)

  10. Assistance to the "Isolated and Disenfranchised Communities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory" project

    Mr. Taniguchi: Lastly on 9 January, the Government of Japan and the United Nations (UN) decided to extend assistance totaling about US$5.3 million, through the Trust Fund for Human Security to a project entitled "Isolated and Disenfranchised Communities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory."

    The project will be implemented by the United Nations Office of the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and a host of other UN institutions

    This project aims at supporting Palestinian communities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip by empowering the disenfranchised people.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  11. Questions concerning visit to Japan by Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher R. Hill of the US

    Q: I understand that the US State Department official, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher R. Hill, was visiting Tokyo the other day and he met with Mr. Sasae. What was discussed at the meeting?

    Mr. Taniguchi: North Korea is once again using a number of issues as an excuse to delay the resumption of the Six-Party Talks, and one of them is about money laundering, which is a serious financial crime. The United States of America (US) is much concerned about it.

    Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Kenichiro Sasae of the Foreign Ministry from the Japanese side mentioned that it is not really allowed for North Korea to continue to use this sort of excuse only to delay the reopening of the Six-Party Talks. He also said that the US and Japan should work closely together to restart the process and that the Japanese Government is in close touch with the Chinese counterpart, which is playing the chairmanship role to push North Korea to resume the Six-Party Talks.

    Q: Did Mr. Hill present any new proposals on how to achieve a breakthrough on the Six-Party Talks with North Korea?

    Mr. Taniguchi: Not that I know of. The US and Japan are reviewing the situation and once again have come to an understanding that the sooner the better. And it is not allowed for North Korea to use this sort of excuse.

    Related Information (Japan-North Korea Relations)

  12. Questions concerning money laundering by North Korea

    Q: Regarding US concern about North Korea's money laundering that you talked of earlier, I do not know how much the Foreign Ministry can tell, but what are the Foreign Ministry's views of such activities in Japan? Meaning counterfeiting and money laundering, there has been news about "super notes" that have been reported.

    Mr. Taniguchi: Obviously their printing technology seems to be far more developed then ever before, and there has been a rumor that I cannot confirm, that the Japanese 10,000 note is among the notes that the North Korean government is counterfeiting. Also, it goes without saying that narcotic trade is part of their money making businesses, and so long as North Korea is committing this sort of crimes, it has to be seen with severity and all the more so if North Korea is interested in using this issue as an excuse to delay the talks.

    Q: Can you say that the Japanese Government has tightened up its surveillance process with regard to North Korea?

    Mr. Taniguchi: It has been tightening up the surveillance process. It is my understanding that the Ministry of Finance with its customs divisions are doing much to prevent doubtful money transactions from occurring between Japan and North Korea and it is not one of the things that we can tell you in more detail. But the Ministry of Finance has been able to track money transactions, the way that money is sent or transferred between Japan and North Korea, in a much more effective and efficient fashion than before, so that is probably all that I can tell you.

    Related Information (Japan-North Korea Relations)

  13. Question concerning US military transformation

    Q: Regarding the report on the US military realignment, it was agreed upon between Japan and the US to formulate the final report by March. There seems to be a report saying that there is a view within the Government of Japan that it might be difficult to formulate the report by March. What are the views of the Foreign Ministry?

    Mr. Taniguchi: Well that is one of the most commonly asked questions of late about the military transformation, and the clock is ticking as you say. But we still have two months to go, and we are still hopeful that the people and the local and regional governments concerned will be convinced of the huge importance of finishing this job. Foreign Minister Aso is doing his utmost to tell those governors and mayors in the related regions the importance of this process. So we are not abandoning any hope to conclude the process by the agreed deadline. So yes, if you ask whether this process is taking time, it is indeed taking time. And if you ask if it is a difficult process, yes it is a difficult process but it has been so since the beginning, nothing has been easy. But given the huge importance of finishing this base realignment program, I think there is no other thing than to continue trying our best to persuade those people.

    You may probably be aware of the gist and substance of the discussions that Foreign Minister Aso had with his counterparts in India and Pakistan, a lot of information is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I suggest that you check those things. A number of interesting things have been discussed by these people, between Japan and India and between Japan and Pakistan. For example, a strategic dialogue will be launched between the Foreign Minister of Japan and the Indian Foreign Minister, and that means that Japan is putting more interest and importance on our democratic partner, India. So I urge you to take a look at what has actually happened during those weeks.

    Prime Minister Koizumi has just arrived at Haneda Airport from Turkey, and his trip to Turkey seems to have been most successful. There will be a brief about his last couple of days in Turkey.

    Related Information (Japan-U.S. Relations)

  14. Follow-up questions concerning Meeting on Early Response to the Potential Influenza Pandemic in Asia

    Q: Sir I understand there will be press briefings on the Meeting on Early Response to the Potential Influenza Pandemic in Asia today. Can you give us some details?

    Mr. Taniguchi: There is one by my colleague who is very much eager and looking forward to telling you about that so I should refrain from making any comments now. But let me tell you that this WHO and Ministry of Foreign Affairs jointly hosted conference has been interesting in one respect, in that it invited three representatives from Taiwan and they have joined the conference as individuals. Let me tell you who is leading the delegation--it was Doctor Kuo Hsu-Sung, Director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC). And there is another person who is joining the conference from the Taiwan CDC and another person from the national Taiwan hospital. So altogether there are three people from Taiwan joining this international conference.

    Q: Sir when you say this, is it quite rare?

    Mr. Taniguchi: Yes it is quite rare, but so long as a pandemic of this sort is concerned there should be no stone unturned so to say. It is very much important for Taiwan to take part in this conference to share the knowledge and share the way this disease should be controlled and prevented.

    Q: Was there an opposition from China?

    Mr. Taniguchi: I do not know but the Chinese Government has agreed about Taiwan taking part.

    Q: So were there any specific oppositions about Taiwan from China?

    Mr. Taniguchi: Please raise that question to Director-General (Ambassador) of the Global Issues Department Takahiro Shinyo of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Q: And what about the Vietnamese delegation?

    Mr. Taniguchi: Let me check, the countries and the organizations joining this conference are as follows: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, China, France, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongol, Myanmar, the Philippines, New Zealand, Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, UK, US, ASEAN Council, Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Council, UNICEF, World Bank, International Vaccine Institute and a company called ROSCH. So there has been a delegation from Viet Nam.

    The closing session will start soon, at 15:00, and will end at 15:30. From 16:30 there will be a joint chairmen press conference in this ministry building and is open for the press.

    Q: Did the Vietnamese delegation give any proposals to prevent avian influenza?

    Mr. Taniguchi: Given the importance of the disease for Viet Nam, there is no doubt that the Vietnamese delegation made important remarks but I have not been informed about what exactly they said. And once again please raise that question to Mr. Shinyo who is giving a press conference at 16:30.

    So as you can see from the number of participating nations and organizations, this conference is a world wide event and there is a great importance attached to it.

    Related Information (Health and Medical Care)


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