(* This is a provisional translation by a translation service company for reference purpose only. The original text is in Japanese.)

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Aso

Date: Friday, January 20, 2006, 10:00 a.m.
Place: Briefing Room, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Main topics:

  1. Cabinet Meeting/Informal Cabinet Meeting
  2. Issue of Gap between Rich and Poor
  3. ODA
  4. Personnel matters

1. Cabinet Meeting/Informal Cabinet Meeting

(See Japanese version)

2. Issue of Gap between Rich and Poor

(See Japanese version)

3. ODA

Question:
Regarding ODA, in your speech yesterday at the Japan National Press Club, you suggested that the outline of ODA be decided in an institution like the Security Council of Japan. This matter is currently under consideration at the Chief Cabinet Secretary's Advisory Committee. Our concern is the statement of the concerned Minister can affect the Advisory Committee's discussions on this matter. What do you think of it?

Minister:
We need to come up with various ideas and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs make its position clear to avoid any misunderstanding, I think. However, that was not the main aim of my statement yesterday. It is your, news reporter's aim. I explained Japan's concept of ODA yesterday. Your point belongs to rather minor parts. I prefer a institution like the Security Council of Japan with respect to ODA. President of Japan International Cooperation Agency Ogata explained in her statement at the Advisory Committee that it would take too much trouble and time to make decisions if we establish a large institution like ODA Agency, that jumbles up people how different ministries. We have to seriously regard the opinions of people in the field. Therefore, I stated that it is the best way to establish an institution like the Security Council of Japan for planning of overall strategy of ODA. It is up to in the committee how to put this in the end.

Question:
You will make a foreign policy speech in this session of the Diet. What will you emphasize in your speech?

Minister:
Well, Japan has pursued peace and happiness through economic prosperity and democracy for the past 60 years. Japan has strictly exercised self-restraint in the use of force and therefore, ODA has been one of the very significant diplomatic instruments. At least ODA is not only a matter of money but also a tool of conveying Japan's concept of labor through the implementation of the projects. Japan has provided ODA drawing on the idea that it is not just an almsgiving. Asian countries having received ODA from Japan are prosperous now. It is very clear. We need to pay attention to this again.

Related Information (Japan's ODA)

4. Personnel matters

Question:
Regarding the North Korean issue, we are entering an important phase that Japan-North Korea Consultations will be resumed from next month with three tracks. However, the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea has expressed concern about the change of person in charge of abduction issue. What is the purpose of this personnel matter?

Minister:
The Consultation will be resumed. Mr. Saiki has worked in Japan for more than ten years. It is long enough to work at the same place as a diplomat. Even it is too long if news reporters have worked at the same place for twelve years. Since it was determined to resume the Consultation, we have planned the personnel matters since last year. Mr. Umeda who has worked for the issue was appointed as Saiki's successor. In regard to Mr. Saiki, it was approved in the Cabinet Meeting. Mr. Saiki will start the handover process from today, contacting the related families.

Related Information (Japan-North Korea Relations)


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