Visit to Japan by H. E. Nuri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq

April 3, 2007

1.  The Government of Japan has decided to invite H. E. Nuri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq, from April 8 (Sun) to 11 (Wed).  During his stay in Japan, Prime Minister Maliki will be received by His Majesty the Emperor and have talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

2.  The basic concept of the Government of Japan on this visit by Prime Minister Maliki is as follows:

 (1)  The stability of Iraq is essential to the national interest of Japan as it imports 90% of the crude oil it needs from the Middle Eastern region.  Japan thus has actively assisted the reconstruction of Iraq by, for example, dispatching Japan’s Self Defense Forces to conduct humanitarian assistance, supporting development of human resources, providing Official Development Assistance (ODA) amounting to about five billion US dollars, and extending debt relief measures amounting to about six billion US dollars.

 (2)  Building upon Japan’s assistance extended so far, it is important for Japan to establish a long-term and strategic partnership and to build mutually beneficial relations with Iraq as it has been friendly to Japan and has the third largest oil reserves in the world.

 (3)  The Government of Japan confirmed the need of building such a relationship with H. E. Tariq Al-Hashimi, Vice President of Iraq, who visited Japan from March 21 to 24.  The coming visit of Prime Minister Maliki also aims at further reinforcing this relationship.  

 (4)  In order to improve the situation in Iraq, it is essential for the Government of Iraq to make efforts in promoting national reconciliation with the success of security measures.  Based on this view, the Government of Japan encouraged Vice President Hashimi to deepen his understanding on and further his support for promoting national reconciliation during his recent visit to Tokyo.  Japan also invited recently an Iraqi delegation comprising 13 parliamentarians and other influential persons headed by H. E. Akram al-Hakim, Minister for National Reconciliation of Iraq, and held a highly-appreciated Seminar for Iraqi National Reconciliation.  The Government of Japan will also encourage Prime Minister Maliki to make further efforts toward national reconciliation.