(* 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: Friday, March 28, 2008, 9:08 a.m.
Place: In front of the Ministers' Room in the House

Main topics:

  1. Statement by Prime Minister Fukuda about the Issue of Funding for Roads
  2. ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
  3. Special Measures Agreement on Host Nation Support
  4. Status of US Forces Agreement

1. Statement by Prime Minister Fukuda about the Issue of Funding for Roads

(See Japanese version.)

2. ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

Minister:
At today's Cabinet Meeting, a decision was taken to sign the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEPA) Agreement, and today I will sign it. Signings to this agreement will be done one-by-one by the nations involved, and once all of the nations involved have completed their signing, the next procedure will be for the agreement to be submitted to the Diet and for a request to be made for Diet ratification. I hope that based on this agreement, we will see more and more dynamism in the economic relations between Japan and ASEAN.

Related Information (ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement)

3. Special Measures Agreement on Host Nation Support

Question:
Regarding the Host Nation Support, if the situation continues as it is now, it will not be possible to get approval within the current fiscal year for the Special Measures Agreement and that will have to take place in April. What are your thoughts on the influence that will result from that?

Minister:
This is an unprecedented situation, and therefore it is not clear exactly what kind of administrative influence it will have. However, if we see things from the larger perspective, although I would not go as far as saying that we will lose the trust of the United States, it is absolutely clear that some of the trust will be reduced. Furthermore, there is a concern that third party nations will get the wrong impression that in fact the Japan-United States alliance is not as firm as it was. I naturally know that this is not the case and our alliance is solid, but if third party countries misunderstand the situation, I am concerned that it could result in a weakened deterrent.

Related Information (Japan-U.S. Relations)

4. Status of US Forces Agreement

Question:
Yesterday the three opposition parties consisting of the Democratic Party of Japan, the People's New Party and the Social Democratic Party, agreed on a newly compiled integrated proposal for revising the Status of US Forces Agreement and announced that. Please state your views on that.

Minister:
Given that we have not yet received that document and had a chance to see it, I can say only that once we have had a chance to see it, we will give some consideration to it. Consideration will be given, but from our basic standpoint, we believe that we would be able to take a more flexible approach by improving Status of Forces Agreement procedures and that this would be a much more effective way.


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