Exchange of Opinions between Mr. Katsuya Okada, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the African Diplomatic Corps

October 26, 2009

  1. A meeting of the Tokyo African Club (TAC) was held on October 26 (Mon) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the meeting, an exchange of opinions took place between Mr. Katsuya Okada, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the African Diplomatic Corps (for 25 minutes starting at 4:10 pm). (Speech by Mr. Katsuya Okada, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan [English(PDF)] [Japanese(PDF)])
  2. Minister Okada referred to his own visits to Sudan (2005) and Kenya (2006), and stated that the following points are the two fundamental principles of Japan’s policy on Africa under the Hatoyama Administration.
  3. (1) Assistance for development and growth of Africa

      A. At the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama clearly stated that Japan intends to continue and strengthen the TICAD process. The Hatoyama Administration will fulfill the commitment announced at TICAD IV without fail, which is to double Japan’s ODA and provide assistance for doubling Japanese private investment to Africa by 2012.

      B. On implementing the ODA, Japan retains its stance to emphasize not only achieving MDGs and ensuring human security but also boosting economic growth, consolidation of peace and good governance, and addressing environment/climate change issues.

      C. Furthermore, in view of enhancing trade and investment relations between Japan and Africa, current government will also closely cooperate with the Japanese private sector and proactively provide support for their business activities.

    (2) Contributing to the peace and stability of Africa

      A. Growth and development can never be achieved without peace and stability.

      B. The Hatoyama Administration will play a proper role in the efforts to establish and consolidate peace, including Peace Keeping Operations (PKO). In this regard, I have recently revealed that the administration will proceed examination on the measures including amendment of the International Peace Cooperation Law, in order for Japan to make more active participation in PKO.

      C. In addition, Japan will make greater contributions for the solution of conflicts in Sudan, Somalia, and other regions. Japan will also strengthen cooperation with the African Union for this purpose.

  1. In response, Mr. Jean Christian Obame, Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps (Ambassador of the Gabonese Republic in Japan), said that the African countries had been concerned about the Government of Japan’s policy on Africa given the recent change of administration. He stated that he felt relieved after listening to Prime Minister Hatoyama’s speech at the UN General Assembly, as well as Minister Okada’s remarks at the meeting.
    A frank exchange of opinions followed in which Minister Okada and the African Diplomatic Corps discussed subjects including the strengthening of relations between Japan and Africa.

(Reference) Tokyo African Club (TAC)

  1. The TAC is a meeting held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (chaired by the Director-General for Sub-Saharan African Affairs) in which opinions are exchanged with the African Diplomatic Corps (35 ambassadors). It is in principle held once every two months. In addition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, other participants include relevant ministries (including the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry), government agencies (including JICA), and TICAD co-organizers (UNDP and World Bank Tokyo offices).
  2. In consideration of the advancement of the TICAD process, Japan places importance on close dialogues with Africa. TAC is an important set-up for such dialogues within Tokyo. The African Diplomatic Corps is cooperating with the Government of Japan with respect to the successful holding of meetings related to TICAD, smooth production and release of documents related to their results, and other matters.
    The Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps is Mr. Jean Christian Obame, Ambassador of the Gabonese Republic in Japan.