Press Conference 4 April 2006

  1. Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on the death of the consular officer of the Consulate General of Japan in Shanghai
  2. Establishment of the Investigative Committee on Information Security
  3. Statement by the Press Secretary on the presidential election in Benin
  4. Establishment of the Japan-China Economic Affairs Division
  5. Visit to Japan by Ms. Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  6. Visit by Vice-Minister (Parliamentary) for Foreign Affairs Kiyohiko Toyama to India
  7. The Ninth Japan-EU High Level Meeting on the Environment
  8. Signing of the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China Regarding Mutual Assistance and Cooperation in Customs Matters
  9. Exchange of messages between Japanese and Mexican foreign ministers on the occasion of the 1st anniversary of the entry into force of the Japan-Mexico Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)
  10. Emergency assistance for the earthquake disaster in Mid-Western Iran
  11. Yen loan to the Republic of Costa Rica
  12. Yen loan to the Kingdom of Morocco
  13. ODA simulation game
  14. Follow-up questions concerning visit of UNICEF Executive Director
  15. Follow-up questions concerning the Investigative Committee on Information Security
  16. Question concerning visit to Japan by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto Romulo of the Republic of the Philippines

  1. Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on the death of the consular officer of the Consulate General of Japan in Shanghai

    Deputy Press Secretary Tomohiko Taniguchi: Let me quickly go through some of the announcements and statements that have been issued and made available since Friday last week.

    First, there was a statement issued by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the death of the consular officer of the Consulate General of Japan in Shanghai, People's Republic of China. The statement goes as follows:

    In the background of the death of the consular officer of the Consulate General of Japan in Shanghai, we assume that there were regrettable actions taken by local Chinese security personnel, which were against the obligation of the receiving state under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and cannot accept the Chinese position which says "this incident has nothing to do with the Chinese Government", or "the statement that China went against the Convention on Consular Relations is groundless", expressed by the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China on 31 March.

    We continue to strongly urge the Chinese Government to take proper measures including investigation of the incident in good faith.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  2. Establishment of the Investigative Committee on Information Security

    Mr. Taniguchi: In response to the related article by Yomiuri Shimbun that went to print on 31 March, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on 31 March, established the Investigative Committee on Information Security.

  3. Statement by the Press Secretary on the presidential election in Benin

    Mr. Taniguchi: The next announcement is about a statement issued by the Press Secretary on the presidential election in the Republic of Benin. The statement goes as follows:

    The Government of Japan extends congratulations to the people of the Republic of Benin as well as to Dr. Boni YAYI on the fact that the presidential election in the country has been conducted generally in a free, fair and peaceful manner and that Dr. Boni YAYI was elected as the next President.

    It is Japan's hope that under the leadership of the new President, Benin's democracy and socio-economic development will continue to be promoted, and that the country will play a more important role in ensuring peace and stability in the West African region.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  4. Establishment of the Japan-China Economic Affairs Division

    Mr. Taniguchi: The next announcement is about the establishment of the Japan-China Economic Affairs Division.

    The Japan-China Economic Affairs Division has been established inside the China and Mongolia Division, Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on 1 April.

    The influence of the Chinese economy on the international economy has been increasing in recent years due to its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the consequent rapid economic growth. Japan-China economic relations have enlarged and deepened as the overall value of external trade between Japan and China, including that with Japan and Hong Kong, has overtaken that between Japan and the United States from 2004. Hence the importance of the Chinese economy and the Japan-China economic relationship in Japan's diplomacy with China has become increasingly high.

    Under such circumstances, it was decided to establish a Japan-China Economic Affairs Division, specializing in diplomatic policy on the Chinese economy and the Japan-China economic relations, such as the promotion of healthy development of the Japan-China economic relationship, the management of trade and investment-related issues which are increasing, and the promotion of Japan-China cooperation in various economic fields.

    The Japan-China Economic Division will start with five staff members under Director Morio Matsumoto.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  5. Visit to Japan by Ms. Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

    Mr. Taniguchi: The next announcement is about the visit to Japan by Ms. Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

    Ms. Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF, will visit Japan from 9 to 12 April as Guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    During her stay in Japan, Ms. Veneman will exchange views with Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Aso, other senior officials of the Government of Japan, and also members of the Parliamentary League for UNICEF.

    Japan has constructed cooperative relations with UNICEF in wide-ranging areas including development, humanitarian assistance and human rights. The upcoming visit by the UNICEF Executive Director is expected to further strengthen this cooperative relationship with the organization.

    This will be Ms. Veneman's first visit to Japan since she took office as the UNICEF Executive Director in May 2005.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  6. Visit by Vice-Minister (Parliamentary) for Foreign Affairs Kiyohiko Toyama to India

    Mr. Taniguchi: Let me also make an announcement about the visit of Vice-Minister (Parliamentary) for Foreign Affairs Kiyohiko Toyama to India.

    Dr. Toyama went to India on 2 April and is due back on 5 April. In India, Dr. Toyama is attending the Forty-Fifth Annual Session of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO).

    Dr. Toyama also has meetings with officials of the Government of India, as well as with members of Indian Parliament.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  7. The Ninth Japan-EU High Level Meeting on the Environment

    Mr. Taniguchi: The next item is about the Ninth Japan-European Union (EU) High Level Meeting on the Environment.

    The Ninth Japan-EU High Level Meeting on the Environment will be held on 10 April in Tokyo at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    This Meeting will be co-chaired, on the Japanese side, by Ambassador for Global Environmental Affairs Mutsuyoshi Nishimura, and on the EU side, by Director-General of Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission Peter Carl. The representatives of the ministries and agencies concerned of Japan and the related departments of the European Commission will also attend this meeting.

    The participants will take up environmental issues such as climate change, energy, sustainable development and international environmental governance. They will also exchange views on the respective domestic efforts of Japan and the EU and the progress in international cooperation.

    The Meeting will be held for the first time in seven years. It took place a total of eight times from 1992 but has not been held since 1999, due to scheduling difficulties. The Meeting is vice-minister-level consultation between Japan and the EU, in which wide-ranging policy dialogue is held from a broad perspective on matters of interest to both Japan and the EU in the field of environment.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  8. Signing of the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China Regarding Mutual Assistance and Cooperation in Customs Matters

    Mr. Taniguchi: I have a couple of more announcements. The next one is about the signing of the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China Regarding Mutual Assistance and Cooperation in Customs Matters.

    The signing of the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China Regarding Mutual Assistance and Cooperation in Customs Matters took place on 2 April in Beijing between Japanese Chargé d'Affaires ad interim to China Chihiro Atsumi and Vice Minister of the General Administration of Customs Sun Songpu.

    Relations between Japan and China have become closer in recent years, expanding and accelerating the movement of people and commodities, which then require faster customs procedures and tighter measures against smuggling.

    As this Agreement is intended to meet these requirements, it is expected that the conclusion of it will make Japan-China cooperation centering on information exchange smoother and tighter and achieve smoother customs clearance and effective control of smuggling.

    This Agreement came into effect on the day of the signing.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  9. Exchange of messages between Japanese and Mexican foreign ministers on the occasion of the 1st anniversary of the entry into force of the Japan-Mexico Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

    Mr. Taniguchi: Next, there was an exchange of messages between Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Aso and Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista of the United Mexican States about commemorating the first anniversary of the Japan-Mexico Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) coming into being.

    The Japan-Mexico EPA was signed on 17 September 2004 and went into effect on 1 April 2005. The exchange of messages was to commemorate the first anniversary of the entry into force of the Japan-Mexico EPA.

    Since it went into effect, the amount of export from Japan to Mexico increased by approximately 37.8% and the amount of import from Mexico to Japan increased by approximately 23.4%, and the total volume of trade between the two nations has increased by approximately 33.8%.

    Related Information (Japan-Mexico Relations)
    Related Information (FTA and EPA)

  10. Emergency assistance for the earthquake disaster in Mid-Western Iran

    Mr. Taniguchi: The next couple of items are about our official development assistance (ODA).

    First, emergency assistance for the earthquake disaster in Mid-Western Iran.

    The Government of Japan has decided to provide emergency assistance in kind such as tents and blankets worth about ten million yen to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has suffered disaster from an earthquake that occurred in the Province of Lorestan, Mid-Western Iran on 30 and 31 March.

    It was reported as of 2 April that 70 people were dead, 1,264 people injured and the houses of about 15,000 families were damaged and the victims were forced to take shelter in harsh conditions. The Government of Iran therefore requested emergency aid from the Government of Japan on 2 April.

    The Government of Japan has decided to extend this emergency assistance from the viewpoint of the seriousness of this disaster and the friendly relations between Japan and Iran.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  11. Yen loan to the Republic of Costa Rica

    Mr. Taniguchi: Also, the Japanese Government has decided to extend a yen loan amounting up to US$130 million (15 billion yen) to the Republic of Costa Rica for the Metropolitan San Jose Environment Improvement Project. The total outstanding balance of yen loans that the Japanese Government has provided to Costa Rica to date is now US$560 million (66 billion yen).

    Related Information (Japan-Costa Rica Relations)

  12. Yen loan to the Kingdom of Morocco

    Mr. Taniguchi: The next announcement is about a yen loan to the Kingdom of Morocco. The Japanese Government has decided to extend a yen loan amounting up to US$150 million (17.7 billion yen) to Morocco for the Marrakech-Agadir Motorway Construction Project. The total outstanding balance of yen loans that the Japanese Government has provided to Morocco to date is now US$1.6 billion (187 billion yen).

    Related Information (Japan-Morocco Relations)

  13. ODA simulation game

    Mr. Taniguchi: The last one is about an ODA simulation game that is available online at the following website: http://www.apic.or.jp/plaza/resque1/.

    The game was created to enhance public understanding about ODA, how it is conducted and in what way it proceeds. The game simulates the dispatch of a medical team to an emergency area for rescue efforts.

    Related Information (Japan's ODA)

  14. Follow-up questions concerning visit of UNICEF Executive Director

    Q: Regarding the visit of the Executive Director of UNICEF, what issues will be raised in her talks with Foreign Minister Aso?

    Mr. Taniguchi: I have heard nothing specifically. It has been scheduled for a long time. As I said, Ms. Veneman's visit to Japan is her first as the head of UNICEF. It will be to exchange views with related officials.

    Q: There is no information about whether or not they will have a new cooperation or agreement?

    Mr. Taniguchi: Not that I know of.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  15. Follow-up questions concerning the Investigative Committee on Information Security

    Q: Regarding the Investigative Committee on Information Security that was set up on Friday, I understand it is supposed to verify facts like how the leakage happened and the source of the leakage. I was wondering, if for instance the culprit is identified, what kind of punishment would be used?

    Mr. Taniguchi: That is going to be discussed after anything concrete is found. I do not think any decision has been made so far about the possible punishment.

    Q: Would punishments usually be written or verbal warnings?

    Mr. Taniguchi: That literally depends on the case in point, and I do not think I should make any prediction about it.

  16. Question concerning visit to Japan by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto Romulo of the Republic of the Philippines

    Q: I understand that the Filipino Foreign Minister is here in Japan and is going to have talks with Foreign Minister Aso. What kind of issues does Japan hope to talk about with the Filipino Foreign Minister?

    Mr. Taniguchi: I do not have specific knowledge about it. Generally speaking, Japan is in the course of pursuing a variety of issues with the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), for instance, like Japan having a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with ASEAN nations. Other issues include security issues of course or the review of the security situation in the region. They would certainly talk about domestic political issues, but I am just speculating. You will hear in due course what they have actually talked about.

    Related Information (Press Release)


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