(* 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 Masahiko Koumura
Date: Saturday, January 5, 2008
I expressed my gratitude to my counterpart for extending a warm greeting to me despite the fact that this visit had to take place on the very first weekend of the New Year due to domestic circumstances in Japan.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation of Tanzania expressed his profound gratitude to me for the diverse range of cooperation that Japan has extended to them for many years and said that he welcomed me.
I explained that it was a great pleasure for me to be the first Japanese foreign minister to visit Tanzania in 29 years. I also stated that looking ahead to the hosting of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) in Japan later this year, we very much look forward to greeting the president and would call on him for cooperation on various matters.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Bernard Kamillius Membe stated that Tanzania gives consideration in that direction but that officially a statement would be forthcoming tomorrow from the president himself who would indicate his intent to participate in TICAD IV.
Furthermore, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation stated that Tanzania consistently supports Japan's effort to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and intends to continue its support in the future. Furthermore he stated that Tanzania supporting Japan in this way would not mean that only Tanzania supports Japan, rather, it has a large influence on the 20 nations of East Africa and on the 53 nations of Africa as a whole. Indeed he stated that they would make efforts so that all of the African nations would support Japan. I was indeed very grateful to hear this.
Regarding the situation in Kenya, I was informed that right now the president is conducting various conversations with the top leaders on both sides in Kenya. I was told that in any event everything must be done to ensure that this issue is resolved in a good direction.
Regarding the efforts to bring about a settlement on the part of the African Union (AU) and the rest of the international community, we agreed that Japan and Tanzania would act together to provide support.
In addition, we just signed an exchange of notes on two matters and as I stated at the signing ceremony, Japan will provide fiscal support in the amount of 630 million yen. Such assistance cannot be extended unless Japan has an extremely high level of confidence in the governance of the government in the country to which the assistance is to be extended and ordinarily Japan provides assistance on a project basis. As such, it means that we have decided to move forward with it for Tanzania.
And it means that from now on Japan's assistance to Tanzania becomes a model case for Japan's assistance to Africa. That is all I have to report from my side.
Was there any more concrete request from the Tanzanian side other than what you have reported?
We talked about a lot of things. We talked on various issues such as roads.
What is the Government of Japan going to do regarding Kenya?
This is a matter that pertains to the international community and I stated that Japan will cooperate. As I stated yesterday, we have decided to extend 200,000 US dollars to provide assistance for domestic evacuees.
We intend to give consideration to various forms of assistance in the future but more importantly, we hope that the problem can be resolved as soon as possible so that we will not need to consider various forms of assistance.
There is some talk of calling for a recount of the ballots. Do you think the numbers should be re-tallied?
It is important for both sides to discuss the situation as early as possible, including whether or not the ballots should be recounted. That is the position of the Government of Japan.
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