Press Conference, 3 June 2008
- Provision of tents to the People's Republic of China
- The Second Tripartite Meeting between the foreign ministers of Japan, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea
- Prime Minister Fukuda's attendance at the High-Level Conference of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
- Upcoming visit to Japan by President Abdullah Gul of the Republic of Turkey
- Japan-Russia Vice-ministerial Consultations between Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Kenichiro Sasae and Mr. Alexei Borodavkin, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
- The Japan-Africa "Cool Earth Partnership"
- Statement on the continuation of the detention under house arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar
- Arrival in Japan of 60 high school students participating in the JENESYS programme
- Question concerning whale meat trade
- Questions concerning climate change issues
- Questions concerning Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to Europe
- Questions concerning the upcoming visit to Japan by President Abdullah Gul of the Republic of Turkey
Deputy Press Secretary Tomohiko Taniguchi: Hello and good afternoon. My opening statement goes as follows.
Permit me to touch on more than a couple of points.
First about the tents given to China. The Government of Japan will be providing the Chinese authority with a total of 1200 tents. Last night we flew a chartered jumbo jet of a Japan Airlines Boeing 747-200 from the Kansai airport to Chengdu, Sichuan, China, carrying 400 tents.
The Hyogo Prefectural Government provided 200, each accommodating 10 people or even more, and the Aichi Prefectural Government the remaining 200, each for five people, free of charge, based in both cases on pure goodwill I'm sure.
For this operation the total cost supposedly involved roughly amounted to 50 million Japanese yen, which, let me tell you, makes up a part of the 500 million yen worth of support the Government of Japan is ready to give to the Chinese, which will add to the first wave of emergency support worth 500 million yen already given to China.
Another set of 800 tents will head to Chengdu as early as tomorrow. Of the 800, 700 will be from the stock of the Secretariat of the International Peace Cooperation Headquarters, Cabinet Office, with the rest, 100, from the Ministry of Defense. That much is about the tents.
II. The Second Tripartite Meeting between the foreign ministers of Japan, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea
Mr. Taniguchi: Next I'd like to make an announcement that on the 14th of this month, which is Saturday, foreign ministers from the three countries of Japan, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea will gather in Tokyo to have the second tripartite meeting.
III. Prime Minister Fukuda's attendance at the High-Level Conference of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
Mr. Taniguchi: By the way Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda is still in Europe, which is my third point for the opener.
Today, he will be in Rome delivering an address at the High-Level Conference of the FAO, or the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. On its margin Prime Minister Fukuda will be meeting President of France Nicolas Sarkozy, Dr. Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the FAO, and Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi. Tomorrow, Prime Minister Fukuda is scheduled to meet Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the UN and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.
Mr. Taniguchi: Fouthly, from Turkey, President Abdullah Gul will be making an official working visit to Japan from the 4th to 8th of June. He will be the first ever Turkish President that has visited Japan. Of note is that a large delegation of some 150 Turkish business representatives will be traveling with him to Japan. The President and the business leaders will attend the scheduled event, the Turkey-Japan Business Forum, to be held in a Tokyo hotel on the 5th.
Of no less importance also is that President Gul is scheduled to visit a place called Kushimoto in Wakayama Prefecture. That's actually amongst the best known Japanese spots for those keen on the bilateral ties, because back in September 1890 a Turkish frigate, Ertugrul, couldn't survive the then massive typhoon off Kushimoto, killing some 580 people including the captain. They were on their way home from the first goodwill visit ever made from Turkey to Japan. The survivors, 69 of them, however were given the best care by the local people, eventually made their way home aboard two of the Japanese naval ships. The story would remain engraved deeply in the minds of both peoples, the Japanese and the Turkish, up until now as a narrative exemplifying the long-standing friendship between the two countries. The President will be there to pay tribute to the perished, as well as the bond between the two peoples.
V. Japan-Russia Vice-ministerial Consultations between Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Kenichiro Sasae and Mr. Alexei Borodavkin, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Taniguchi: Back to drier business issues. As the fifth point, let me tell you that a new round of Japan-Russia vice-ministerial consultations is being held today in Tokyo between Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Kenichiro Sasae and Mr. Alexei Borodavkin, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. Also on Thursday, the 5th, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Mitoji Yabunaka, and Mr. Kwon Jong-Rak, ROK Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, will be meeting in Tokyo for a Japan-ROK Vice-Ministerial Strategic Dialogue. Let me also say that over this coming weekend, Energy Ministers from the G8 nations will gather in Aomori city to discuss issues that later in July the leaders will pay heed to.
Mr. Taniguchi: The sixth point of mine is to do with climate change and the "Cool Earth Partnership" that the Government of Japan is pushing hard with the developing nations.
You know that we had the TICAD IV last week in Yokohama. Its Chair's Summary stated that the conference welcomed the establishment of Japan-Africa Cool Earth Partnership. With this blanket endorsement now in place, the Government of Japan will have policy consultations with more and more countries in Africa in order for them to strike a better balance between development and environmental protection and adaptation.
Let me add also that at the occasion of the Summit of Central America and Caribbean nations on climate change held in Honduras on the 28th last month, the attending 11 heads of state declared that they would welcome the Japanese "Cool Earth Promotion Programme" of which the Partnership proposal is a part.
VII. Statement on the continuation of the detention under house arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar
Mr. Taniguchi: Seventh, let me draw your attention to the May 28 statement by the Press Secretary announcing that the Government of Japan is deeply concerned about the continuation of the detention under house arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar.
Mr. Taniguchi: Eighth and last, a group of Indian high school students, some 60 of them, are now staying in Japan on the JENESYS programme, or the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths. They came to Japan on the 27th of May, are home-staying in many parts of the country, and will be leaving on the 5th of June.
Q: I would like to ask two questions, but they are nothing to do with your statement. One is that there was a report from Reykjavik, Iceland, yesterday saying that Iceland resumed exporting whale meat to Japan two weeks ago. I was wondering if there is any background like a surge in demand in Japan for whale meat.
Mr. Taniguchi: The record shows no noticeable growth in demand for whale meat. Countries like Norway and Iceland have in the past sold whale meat to Japan, so in that sense it is a resumption of the trade between two countries. I have no further background.
Q: A question about climate change. There is also a report out of London saying that now the negotiation about a draft statement on the G8 Summit is going on, on the climate change issue. That report said the United States is blocking the setting of a mid-term target.
Mr. Taniguchi: I can tell you that the ongoing negotiations for the subsequent framework following the termination of the Kyoto Protocol are going to be the most wide-reaching and difficult negotiations that humankind has ever experienced. First, because the negotiations involve many nations, developed and developing, and second because there is no quick snap solution for the problem of climate change. That being the background, I should not say anything about what the United States should or should not do. I cannot make a response to what has been reported by the press.
Q: In terms of the Japanese Government, Prime Minister Fukuda has said Japan is set to announce some sort of mid-term target for Japan. Would that be correct?
Mr. Taniguchi: Prime Minister Fukuda on his tour in Europe, largely to attend the FAO meeting, as I mentioned, indicated that there might be a need for a nation to set a numerical target, long term or mid term, but beyond that he said very little about whether or not Japan actually should set up a mid-term numerical target. So that being the situation, I think nothing concrete has ever been announced by the Japanese Government or from the Prime Minister himself.
Q: Do you know what the terms will be for the standard year? For example, the European Union says that the base year should be 1990.
Mr. Taniguchi: It itself is a matter of discussion for the leaders. Obviously during the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit meeting in July that issue is going to be addressed, and we have got even more months beyond the Hokkaido Summit, actually until the fall next year, for negotiations. So many changes will be introduced into the discussion, many ideas will be introduced into the discussion. I do not think anyone can say with a degree of confidence about things like that, whether or not we should base our assumption on a certain year, like 2000.
Q: The question is about the trip the Prime Minister is making in Europe. What are the results of the meetings that Prime Minister Fukuda has been holding with the leaders of the three nations that he has visited?
Mr. Taniguchi: Prime Minister Fukuda is in Europe largely to attend the upcoming FAO meeting, but in addition, it is always important for the leader of the host nation for the G8 summit meetings to meet his or her counterparts of the rest of the G8 nations and to have established person-to-person close relationships with them in order for them later to get engaged in deep conversations and discussions on the occasion of the G8 summit meetings. In that context he has met, or will be meeting, leaders of Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy. If that is the first reason, secondly he is in Europe to attend the FAO meeting which will focus its attention on the food situation or the food crisis that is now haunting the world, and especially developing nations. Prime Minister Fukuda is exchanging his views with his counterparts about what to do with the food crisis in order for them to once again later discuss that very issue even more deeply at the G8 Summit in the summer. That is the second reason. Thirdly, of equal importance, is that the upcoming G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit will pay serious attention to climate change and what the international community should do to tackle climate change. Prime Minister Fukuda is, I understand, giving his thoughts and opinions about what Japan is willing to do about this matter to his counterparts of those nations, and all in all I understand Prime Minister Fukuda has been doing a very good job in explaining those things to them and exchanging views with them.
Q: The question is about global warming and climate change. Given that global warming is going to be focused on at the upcoming G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit, can you be sure that Prime Minister Fukuda is touching on that very issue when talking with the leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy?
Mr. Taniguchi: Absolutely. Among the issues being discussed between Prime Minister Fukuda and his counterparts of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy, global warming and climate change will be amongst the most important topics.
XII. Questions concerning the upcoming visit to Japan by President Abdullah Gul of the Republic of Turkey
Q: The question is about the upcoming visit to Japan by the Turkish President. What will be the main issue to be discussed between the two leaders of Japan and Turkey?
Mr. Taniguchi: Firstly, what should be done between Prime Minister Fukuda and President Gul is to cement even further the existing friendship between the Turkish people and the Japanese people. They are going to discuss what is still to be done to enhance even more the good friendly relationships between two peoples considering that come 2010 both governments will be celebrating the long-standing bilateral ties throughout the year by holding many events in both nations. The two leaders will discuss what concretely should be done to make the eventful year even more fruitful. That being perhaps the first point, the second point has got to do with the fact that the President will be accompanied by as many as 150 business leaders from Turkey. A recent development between Turkey and Japan shows that the trade and investment ties between the two nations have grown compared to the recent past. Again in Turkey, companies like Toyota have set up factories that have been operating in a very effective fashion. But there should be more room for trade and investment ties to be enhanced. Both leaders will discuss simply what they should do to promote business investment and trade ties between the two nations. Thirdly, Prime Minister Fukuda and President Gul will certainly exchange their mutual views about what is happening in Asia from their own respective perspectives. Certainly from the Japanese side, Prime Minister Fukuda will have lots to learn from President Gul given that from Turkey a lot more can be seen in terms of what is happening in the central Asian countries. Those would be the points that would be discussed by the two leaders.
Q: Does the last point include Japan considering sending troops to Afghanistan?
Mr. Taniguchi: They may or may not touch on the regional situation in Afghanistan, but whether Japan should send personnel to Afghanistan or in what way Japan should do so are still being discussed in the Japanese Government.
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