Internet Press Chat Conference, 9 November 2006
- Reunion of Former Students in Japan from the Southwest Asian, Middle Eastern, Central Asian Countries and Mongolia 2006
- Submission of Japan's Second Proposal on the Methodology for the United Nations Scale of Assessments for the Next Three-Year Term
- Visit to Japan by Dignitaries from Overseas
- Questions concerning the role of Japan's Pop Culture in Japanese Cultural Diplomacy
- Question concerning the Summit Meeting between President George W. Bush of the United States of America and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
- Question concerning the Iranian Nuclear Issue
I. Reunion of Former Students in Japan from the Southwest Asian, Middle Eastern, Central Asian Countries and Mongolia 2006
Deputy Press Secretary Tomohiko Taniguchi: Let me start today's Regular Internet Chat Press Conference. Today, I would like to make several announcements before I take questions.
The "Reunion of Former Students in Japan 2006" will be held from Sunday 12 November to Saturday 18 November. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will invite 24 former foreign students in Japan from the Southwest Asian, Middle Eastern, Central Asian countries and Mongolia.
During their stay in Japan, they will exchange information on the activities of the Japan Alumni Associations, visit industrial institutions and attend lectures by specialists to update and deepen their understanding of Japan.
The Reunion, to which are invited former foreign students who are now playing active roles in their home countries, making use of their experience of studying abroad in Japan, was started in 1974 to promote the building of networks among former foreign students and each alumni association and to further strengthen their role as bridges between Japan and their home countries, through renewing their understanding of Japan and meeting again with the Japanese people concerned. More than 2,000 students have participated in these Reunions during the 31 years since they started.
II. Submission of Japan's Second Proposal on the Methodology for the United Nations Scale of Assessments for the Next Three-Year Term
Mr. Taniguchi: Following the resumption of negotiations on the methodology for the United Nations scale of assessments for the next three-year term (2007-09) at the 5th Committee of the UN General Assembly (in charge of administrative and budgetary matters), the Government of Japan, on Wednesday 8 November (7:00 US Eastern time), additionally submitted its second proposal.
In the review process of the methodology for the UN scale of assessments, the Government of Japan intends to continue proactive participation in the negotiations on the scale to make it more equitable and fair, by reflecting the actual economic situation of each UN Member State and duly taking into account its status and responsibilities in the UN.
Based on this principle, the Government of Japan submitted a proposal in March this year. Furthermore, taking into account the positions expressed by some countries during the negotiations and from the viewpoint of contributing proactively in the forthcoming intensive discussions, it has decided to newly submit an additional proposal while keeping the first one submitted in March.
The 5th Committee of the UN General Assembly will discuss in depth the scale of assessments for the next three-year term (2007-09) on the basis of Japan's two proposals together with other proposals and will determine it by the end of this year.
Mr. Taniguchi: Prime Minister of Kingdom of Denmark, H.E. Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen will visit Japan from 20 to 22 November and Foreign Minister of Kenya, Mr. Raphael Tuju accompanied by his spouse is currently visiting Japan and will leave Japan tomorrow.
Now, I would like to take questions.
Q: Hello Sir. I would like to ask regarding the just issued report of Japan's pop culture group and its role in Japan's cultural diplomacy. How different is this initiative from the existing ones? This is basically making the initiative a more strategized and institutional one, in a way to decrease the weight on Official Development Assistance (monetary aid) and put more emphasis on J-pop which is less costly but more effective and appealing to the public?
Mr. Taniguchi: Thanks very much for your curiosity. There is no correlation however between what the Japanese Foreign Ministry has been doing regarding Official Development Assistance (ODA) and the new initiative on Japan's pop culture.
ODA, by definition, is geared toward less affluent nations and something we cannot use in countries such as members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). But culture, again by definition, transcends all sorts of boundaries.
Q: Just a follow up. So, the dissemination of J-pop would be a diplomatic tool that will be used more or focused on affluent nations? Does the fact that Foreign Minister Taro Aso is a manga aficionado help boost such an initiative?
Mr. Taniguchi: I agree with the latter part of your question. Had it not been for the impetus that Foreign Minister Aso gave us we might not have become as enthusiastic as we now are about "selling" Japanese pop culture such as manga.
I must apologize if I have misled you to somehow think that we are pushing Japan's pop culture mainly toward "affluent" countries.
Personally I have been constantly amazed by how popular Pokemon, Doraemon, and all those familiar characters have been among the children of countries that one cannot necessarily call affluent.
V. Question concerning the Summit Meeting between President George W. Bush of the United States of America and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Q: On an entirely different issue, there is a media report that the Foreign Ministers of Japan and the United States will be present during the meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President George W. Bush of the United States of America. Is this a rare thing? If so, what does this say about Japan-US relations (a reaffirmation of a strong Japan-US alliance) and when was the last time the Foreign Ministers of both countries were ever present during the Summit Meeting of their top leaders?
Mr. Taniguchi: I am not exactly sure if there has been a precedent or two. Yet it would be opportune if meetings such as that actually take place for both the United States and Japan to show the kind of responsibilities that the two nations are willing to take in maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
Q: Sir, any updates on the Iranian nuclear issue. How are things going on at the UN stage? The sanctions resolution has been submitted to the concerned countries (I believe Japan is among them). Is it safe to assume that Japan is more or less going to be in sync with the UN/international community when they adopt a sanctions resolution against the Islamic Republic of Iran?
Mr. Taniguchi: If I can be brief in answering your question, the answer is probably yes. Yet, as is the case with such negotiation processes which would normally be taken in passing UN resolutions, I cannot know in any way what the final shape and wording of any resolution would be.
As it seems that you have no more questions, I would like to end today's Regular Internet Chat Press Conference. See you at the next Regular Internet Chat Press Conference.
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