Press Conference by the Press Secretary 6 October, 1998

  1. Visit to Japan by Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations
  2. Emergency aid to the People's Republic of China for flood disaster relief
  3. Visit to Japan by President Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea
  4. Statements resulting from the visit to Japan by President Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea
  5. Reported visit to Japan by President Jiang Zemin of the People's Republic of China
  6. Result of the election in AustraliaResult of the election in Australia
  7. Possible annual meeting between the Prime Minister of Japan and the Prime Minister of Australia
  8. Status of the visit to Japan by President William Jefferson Clinton of the United States of America
  9. Support of the Government of Japan for reform in the Russian Federation

  1. Visit to Japan by Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations

    Press Secretary Sadaaki Numata: Good afternoon. I have several announcements to make. Firstly, the visit to Japan by Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations. He will be visiting Japan as a guest of the Government of Japan from 20 to 22 October and in the course of his stay he will be attending the Second Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD II), which will be held under the auspices of the Government of Japan, the United Nations and other organizations. He will also meet Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiko Koumura and other government officials to exchange views on issues including the cooperative relationship between Japan and the United Nations.

    Related Information (Japan and the United Nations)
  2. Emergency aid to the People's Republic of China for flood disaster relief

    Press Secretary Sadaaki Numata: The second announcement is on emergency aid to the People's Republic of China for flood disaster relief. Today we decided to extend an emergency grant-in-aid of 250 million yen for material aid including medicine and equipment to be used to combat epidemic diseases resulting from the damages of the earthquake to the Government of the People's Republic of China, which has suffered very serious damage caused by extensive flooding. I think I referred earlier to the scale of the flood; more than 3,000 lives claimed and some 223 million people afflicted. In fact, we have extended our emergency assistance on several occasions, starting from the aid in the amount of US$ 70 million and nearly 30 million yen worth of goods and equipment announced on 3 July, followed by another US$ 50 million of emergency aid and again goods and equipment amounting to about 50 million yen, announced on 7 August. Then toward the end of September, the provision of transportation assistance for the relief material donated by the private sector, namely 10,000 blankets, and this may be the fourth installment as it were, amounting to 250 million yen. In total our emergency assistance to China for this flood would be nearly 500 million yen.

    Related Information (Japan-China Relations)
  3. Visit to Japan by President Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea

    Press Secretary Sadaaki Numata: My third announcement is on the forthcoming visit by President Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea to Japan. He will be arriving tomorrow. In fact, this is the first state guest that Prime Minister Obuchi will be welcoming since he became Prime Minister and although President Kim has been to Japan in the past, this is the first visit that he will be making to Japan as the President of the Republic of Korea. We do look forward to this visit contributing to the strengthening of the relationship of trust between the two leaders and thereby contributing also to the forging of a strong bond between our two countries. We are in the process of working on documents to embody the results of this visit. Of course the work is still ongoing so I cannot go into too much detail but let me say that we are working on a set of documents which will comprehensively embody our perceptions of the past, present and future of the Japan-Republic of Korea relationship and with respect to the future, we are aiming at building a new Japan-Republic of Korea partnership as we enter the 21st century. We do feel that this new partnership should be firstly, comprehensive, in the sense that it will encompass exchanges and cooperation in a broad range of areas in terms of politics, economics, cultural exchanges, international security and our efforts to meet the global challenges that we face together. So in that respect we would like to see this partnership being comprehensive. Secondly, we would like to see this partnership as being constructive, that it will lead to actions rather than just ending up in slogans. Thirdly, we would like to see this partnership evolve over time and that will make it necessary for us to check the progress of the evolution and we will monitor it from time to time and then we will try to strengthen this partnership together. We expect that the Foreign Ministers of the two countries will be responsible for such monitoring and overseeing of the relationship. So those are the elements that we would like to see incorporated in the set of documents that we are working on with the Government of the Republic of Korea.

    Related Information (Japan-Republic of Korea Relations)
  4. Statements resulting from the visit to Japan by President Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea

    Q: According to media reports, a statement that will come out of Kim Dae Jung's visit will be some form of apology or statement of regret about Japan's colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsula. Why is that necessary given that Japan has made statements of apology about the past?

    Mr. Numata: Without going into too much detail because the spokesman's job is not to let the cat out of the bag as it were, you have to wait only for two days to see what we have been working on. I referred to our shared approach, shared between us and the Government of the Republic of Korea, to address on the occasion of this visit the totality of our relationship, which means the past, which also includes the immediate past, in which our relationship has developed considerably since the normalization of our relations in 1965, the present and the future. In addressing the totality of our relationship, I think we do share this feeling that we should be sort of coming to terms with our past. Exactly what form it can take is still under discussion with the Government of the Republic of Korea, but suffice it to say for the moment that in the process of our coming to terms with the past, the statement issued by former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama on 15 August 1995, which was the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, was a significant statement. At the same time it was a general statement and perhaps this time whatever statement may come out may have a more bilateral Japan-Republic of Korea focus.

    Related Information (Japan-Republic of Korea Relations)
  5. Reported visit to Japan by President Jiang Zemin of the People's Republic of China

    Q: What about the negotiation between China and Japan on the possible visit of Jiang Zemin to Japan?

    Mr. Numata: We continue to coordinate the planning of the visit. As you know, President Jiang Zemin of the People's Republic of China has been very busily occupied with combating the damages of the flood and that is one of the reasons why we announced this new emergency aid to China to help them tide over the severe difficulties arising from the flood. However we continue to reschedule the visit. We are hoping that we will be able to do it sometime in the course of this year, but the specifics are yet to be worked out.

    Q: A couple of newspapers have reported that Jiang Zemin will visit in late November and that Japan has decided not to sign a joint communique with China and that Japan will inform China of its acceptance of the three no's policy toward Taiwan during Jiang Zemin's stay in Japan. Could you comment on those?

    Mr. Numata: I wonder if these reports are based on a crystal ball--perhaps the crystal ball may be somewhat faulty -- in the sense that we are still working on the scheduling of the visit. As I said, we are hoping that it will take place in the course of this year, but there is no more specificity to that so the timing remains unspecified. The second point about the signing of a joint communique and so forth -- on a visit like this we -- to the extent that this visit will mark an important occasion in which we will try to develop our relationship with China with the future very much in mind, perhaps we may be looking at some concrete ways of doing that. But exactly how it can be done remains undecided, so it is not quite true to say that it has been decided that we will sign a joint communique or whatever. That answers a part of the third question to the extent that we have not quite decided exactly what sort of document and so forth may be coming out. The question I think of the possible reference to Taiwan in the sort of communique or whatever, I think will be partly mooted. I do not think there is likely to be any appreciable change in our policy toward Taiwan in any event.

    Related Information (Japan-China Relations)
  6. Result of the election in Australia

    Q: Any comment on the outcome of the Australian election on the weekend, in particular the poor showing of Pauline Hanson's ultra-rightist One Nation Party?Mr. Numata: Depending on how I answer it, I might be treading on very dangerous ground, so I will give a sort of very commonsensical answer. The final outcome of the election I think, is yet to be announced is it not, although we know who won but the final tally I think has not come out. So with that caveat, I would say that we have enjoyed working with the Government under Prime Minister John Howard and we have been able to maintain a good and friendly relationship with Australia with Prime Minister Howard's Government and I would add the Governments which preceded Prime Minister Howard's as well. We do look forward to working closely together with the newly-elected Government of Australia, although the leader will be the same, to work for further development of Japan-Australia relations. As for the performance of the One Nation Party, I think that is a matter of Australian internal politics and we respect the judgment of the Australian people.

    Q: Any statement or any analysis about how the poor showing of that party effects Australia's position in the region?

    Mr. Numata: I do not consider myself to be an Australian psephologist.

    Related Information (Japan-Australia Relations)
  7. Possible annual meeting between the Prime Minister of Japan and the Prime Minister of Australia

    Q: I have a question about the Japan-Australia Ministerial Summit that was proposed by former Prime Minister Hashimoto. It seems to have fallen by the wayside. I wonder if you had any comments on that.

    Mr. Numata: I do not think it has quite fallen by the wayside. You are talking about the Prime Ministerial Summit. Former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto visited Australia in April last year and in August last year, although it was not at the Prime Ministerial level, the Japan-Australia ministerial committee meeting took place in Tokyo. The general idea is that the two Prime Ministers will try to meet at least once a year. That can be either mutual visits or in the context of having a bilateral meeting when multilateral meetings take place. So the possibility that we might be looking at would be the possibility of an encounter between our two leaders at the time of the forthcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting but that will require further study because we would have to look at the schedule of both leaders. So nothing is decided at this moment but we do have in mind the desirability of having these meetings between the two leaders as laid out when they talked about regularizing their contacts.

    Related Information (Japan-Australia Relations)
  8. Status of the visit to Japan by President William Jefferson Clinton of the United States of America

    Q: We have heard that the impeachment inquiry of President Clinton will go ahead. It runs smack into his visit to Japan. Have you gotten any sort of communication from Washington that the visit may have to be rescheduled?

    Mr. Numata: None whatsoever.

    Q: To what degree is Japan prepared to understand if he cannot make it?

    Mr. Numata: I think I have to give you the stock answer. I cannot answer a hypothetical question. Sorry to disappoint you.

    Q: Are you prepared for that eventuality?

    Mr. Numata: That also is a hypothetical question. We do attach a great deal of importance to our relationship with the United States of America. We also attach a great deal of importance to the evolving relationship of friendship and trust between our two leaders. They met in New York in September and we certainly look forward to the continuation of these ties.

    Related Information (Japan-The United States Relations)
  9. Support of the Government of Japan for reform in the Russian Federation

    Q: What is happening to the Russian economy?

    Mr. Numata: I wish I could answer that.

    Q: Is Japan considering aid or a loan package of US$ 30 billion to Russia like it has offered to Asian economies?

    Mr. Numata: Firstly, the new Government of the Russian Federation is in the process of putting itself together and also putting its economic policies together. So we are awaiting with keen interest whatever outlines of the economic policies that the new Russian Government under Prime Minister Evgenii Primakov may be formulating. I think we are not alone in that. A number of the other Group of Seven (G7) countries and many other countries in the world I think, are doing the same and while that is the case, I think it is a bit premature for us to be talking about whatever additional assistance for example, we might be contemplating. But I do hasten to add that prior to these changes in the Russian Government, we did make a commitment to extend an Export-Import Bank of Japan untied loan of US$ 1.5 billion, a part of which is being disbursed. So that is in the pipeline. We will first have to see what the policies may be but in any event we do hope that the Russian Government will continue to pursue its policies of reform in many areas, especially in the areas of economic policy.

    Related Information (Japan-Russia Relations)

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