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

Press Conference by Minister for Foreign Affairs MACHIMURA Nobutaka

Date: Monday, August 27, 2007, 4:27 p.m.
Place: Press Conference Room, Prime Minister's Office

Main topics:

  1. Appointment of Minister for Foreign Affairs
  2. Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law
  3. Economic Negotiations
  4. Report of Political Funds

1. Appointment of Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister:
My name is Machimura, and I have been appointed as Minister for Foreign Affairs. Minister Taro Aso served as Minister for Foreign Affairs for close to two years, and I intend to work hard for the continued development of Japan's diplomacy. In terms of cooperation with countries that share the basic values of freedom and democracy, in particular, next year the G8 Summit will be held at my home area of Hokkaido Toyako, and the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) will also be taking place. Through these international stages I plan to give more thorough attention to "Proactive Diplomacy," which is a foundation of the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's diplomacy. Specifically, the Japan-United States Alliance is an axis for Japan's international relations, and in that sense, I believe that it is necessary to strengthen the foundation of Japan-U.S. relations and thoroughly address issues starting with the realignment of the US military in Okinawa, as well as carrying out the realignment of the US military in the rest of Japan. I also believe that it is necessary to engage in cooperation with neighboring countries such as China, South Korea, and Russia, strengthen collaboration with countries such as India and Australia, and thoroughly address issues related to North Korea starting with the abduction issue.

I was a member of a committee strengthening of for diplomatic power of the Liberal Democratic Party, and the strengthening of diplomatic power is very important. I intend to make efforts such as strengthening diplomatic missions, and at any rate, continuation is particularly important for diplomacy. As such, I shall fulfill my duty as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

2. Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law

Question:
You just mentioned the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance. While DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa is against extending the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, what areas do you plan to emphasize to persuade Mr. Ozawa and lead the law towards an extension?

Minister:
I believe that the bottom line is that the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law must be extended. After the terrorist attacks of 9.11, there was a unanimous decision made by the United Nations Secuirity Council, and based on that decision, as a member country employing international measures against terrorism, and as it is our natural duty as a member of international society, we currently execute these measures. The activities of Japan's Self-Defense Forces are praised globally, and from the perspective of taking responsible actions as a member of international society, and of course in light of Japan-U.S. relations as well, extending the law is something that really must be done. Japan spent over one trillion yen during the Gulf War. However, President Ozawa insisted that this was not enough to earn international praise and urged the proactive carrying out of international peace cooperation activities. I find it myself to be doubtful that these assertions are consistent with his current opposition to extending the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law. Therefore, I believe that eventually the understanding of the DPJ will be achieved, and I plan to do everything in my power to ensure it is.

3. Economic Negotiations

Question:
The WTO negotiations that will resume in September are going to have come to a head soon. Please tell us your policy for addressing international negotiations such as those regarding the Japan-Australia EPA and other EPA negotiations.

Minister:
It goes without saying that the framework of the WTO itself coincides with the national interest of Japan. Japan acts as a member of the WTO, and I believe that the WTO framework is essential in handling issues such as with Japan's international exports, imports, and investments. Currently, negotiations are reaching their final stages. I especially feel that issues such as those in agriculture must reflect Japan's national interests to the maximum extent. Therefore, I would like to address this issue as well as that of bilateral EPAs while conferring with other related ministers. Especially regarding bilateral EPAs, there is no need to conclude any issues bilaterally that do not correspond to each country's interest or national benefit, so I would like to make a sound effort to address these issues in a manner that does not bring concern to the people of Japan.

4. Report of Political Funds

(See Japanese version)


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