Press Conference by the Press Secretary 10 November, 1998


  1. Emergency aid to the Republic of Honduras for hurricane disaster relief operations and the dispatch of officials of the Government of Japan and others for preparatory research
  2. Visit by Foreign Minister Sardaj Aziz of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Japan from 17 to 20 November
  3. "JAPAN SCOPE" --new television programs by the Government of Japan via international television broadcasting satellite for the Asia-Pacific region
  4. Visit of Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiko Koumura to the Republic of Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand from 2 to 7 November
  5. Summit Meeting between Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation
  6. Response of the Government of Japan to recent announcements by the Government of the United States concerning sanctions against the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
  7. Announcement of extension of untied loans by the Government of Japan to the Russian Federation

  1. Emergency aid to the Republic of Honduras for hurricane disaster relief operations and the dispatch of officials of the Government of Japan and others for preparatory research

    Deputy Press Secretary Masaki Okada: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Today I have a number of announcements to make. Firstly, concerning Hurricane Mitch. I think on Friday, Press Secretary / Director General for Press and Public Relations Sadaaki Numata made certain statements on this issue. However, in addition to the assistance to Honduras and Nicaragua, Japan also decided to extend assistance in grant or in the form of materials to Guatemala and El Salvador. Our total assistance including the four Latin American countries, namely Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador amounts to a 60.1 million yen equivalent in materials and a US$1.5 million aid in grant. In addition to that, I have to explain one thing to you. On 5 November, the Government of Japan received a request from the Government of Honduras for emergency disaster relief operations in the field of medical treatment, epidemic prevention and so on by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF). The Government of Japan has been discussing this request informally within the relevant government organizations, and it has been recognized during this process of talks that the JSDF-related activities are particularly necessary in order to deal effectively with the request. On 9 November, therefore, Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiko Koumura sent a formal document for the consultation with Director General Fukushiro Nukaga of the Defense Agency to gain the cooperation of JSDF units in international disaster relief. Following this consultation, the Government of Japan sent yesterday to Hondurans, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Defense Agency and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to make an assessment of how the JSDF could be used most effectively for disaster relief. Related to that, today State Secretary Nobutaka Machimura of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs changed a part of his original itinerary and decided to visit Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, as his first destination of his trip to Latin America.

    Related Information (Japan-Honduras Relations)
  2. Visit by Foreign Minister Sardaj Aziz of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Japan from 17 to 20 November

    Deputy Press Secretary Masaki Okada: My second announcement concerns the visit of Foreign Minister Sardaj Aziz of Pakistan. What I can say now is very brief. Foreign Minister Aziz is going to visit Japan from 17 to 20 November. Foreign Minister Koumura will have a meeting with him and host a working lunch on 18 November. Japan strongly hopes that a positive attitude will be shown from the Pakistani side on its non-proliferation policy and that we can conduct a constructive exchange of views. We understand that the other topics for mutual interest such as the situation in Afghanistan will be discussed at the Foreign Ministers' meeting.

    Related Information (Japan-Pakistan Relations)
  3. "JAPAN SCOPE" --new television programs by the Government of Japan via international television broadcasting satellite for the Asia-Pacific region

    Deputy Press Secretary Masaki Okada: My third announcement relates to our own activities. It is the start of the so-called JAPAN SCOPE, a series of international satellite English television programs, sponsored by the Government of Japan. It will start to be broadcast to Asia-Pacific countries this month. This television program series is the first attempt to continuously provide the Asia-Pacific region with precise information on Japan's domestic and foreign policies, in view of the increasing need for the above-mentioned information in the region. By the end of March 1999, six programs will be broadcast. The first one will focus on the Asia-Japan Youth Exchange and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The program will introduce commentaries on domestic and foreign policies of the Japanese Government, effectively inserting on-the-spot reporting, computer graphics and other visual methods as well as the presenter's talks with government officials such as the Press Secretary / Director General for Press and Public Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Related Information (Japan Scope)
  4. Visit of Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiko Koumura to the Republic of Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand from 2 to 7 November

    Deputy Press Secretary Masaki Okada: Lastly, I would explain the recent visit of Foreign Minister Koumura to Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand which lasted from 2 to 7 November. In Indonesia, he had meetings with President Baharuddin Jusuf Habibie, Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, as well as a leader of the Democratic Party, Ms. Megawati Sukarnoputri. Foreign Minister Koumura expressed Japan's expectations of the steady development of Indonesian political and economic reform. He also made it clear that Japan continues to support the reform effort of Indonesia. From the Indonesian side, it was explained that the general election would take place as scheduled and gratitude for Japan's assistance was expressed. Foreign Minister Koumura met Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer in Australia and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Don McKinnon in New Zealand and exchanged opinions on the wide scope of issues such as bilateral relations, regional situations in the Asia-Pacific, United Nations reform, disarmament and the environment. We could, through these consultations, reconfirm that Japan further strengthens the reliable partnership with these two countries in the Asia-Pacific region. In all three countries, Foreign Minister Koumura explained in relation to the Early Voluntary Sectoral Liberalization (EVSL) of APEC, that it was not possible for Japan to take tariff and non-tariff measures in excess of the Uruguay Round Agreement as far as forestry and fishery products are concerned. Indonesia seriously received our explanation. Australia and New Zealand wanted Japan to be more flexible in light of Japan's economic importance in the international society. Foreign Minister Koumura responded to them that they should consider how we could make the Kuala Lumpur APEC Meeting a success, provided that the Japanese positions related to these two sectors would remain unchanged. Japan continues to assist Asian countries for the early revitalization of their economies from the present crisis and takes further initiative for the sake of the prosperity and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.

    Related Information (Regional Affairs)
  5. Summit Meeting between Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation

    Q: Could you state on the record what Prime Minister Obuchi plans to do when he meets with President Yeltsin? What is the focus of the meeting going to be about?

    Mr. Okada: This visit by Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi --.

    Q: It was postponed by the way, I gather. What is the new date?

    Mr. Okada: We agreed when Foreign Minister Koumura visited Moscow last month to have a meeting around that time, starting on 10 or 11 November. After that we have been coordinating with the Russian side, and the final result of our coordination was for 11 to 13 November.

    Q: The statements of the Summit will be on 12 November?

    Mr. Okada: That is correct. Prime Minister Obuchi is also supposed to meet Prime Minister Evgenii Primakov. The visit of Prime Minister Obuchi to the Russian Federation is the first in the last 25 years. The last visit by a Japanese Prime Minister was made by former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka in 1973. This is the first official Japanese Prime Minister's visit to Russia --

    Q: Did not Prime Minister Hashimoto --

    Mr. Okada: It was not official. In the last year, we have had five Summits between the two leaders of Russia and Japan. This coming visit will also be a very important cornerstone for us to further this continuous dialogue between Russia and Japan. We would also like to express our support through these consultations with the leaders of Russia of the reform efforts of Russia. At the same time, we would like to take this opportunity to make much more firm the basis for realizing the Agreements in Krasnoyarsk and Kawana towards the conclusion of the Peace Treaty.

    Q: On the subject of the Northern Territories, there is a lot of optimism at the moment. There seems to be a lot of optimism reported that a deal may be struck, that Japan might be able to take back some of the Northern Territories or exchange its sovereignty. What are you expecting in this trip on that front?

    Mr. Okada: The Russian side promised to us that President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation is going to give us the reply to the proposal which was made by former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto in Kawana. As you said, there is much speculation everywhere, but I think it is not very productive to make comments on those different optimistic or pessimistic comments on these issues. What we should do is to keep a quiet and calm stance and wait for the reply which will be given directly from President Yeltsin.

    Related Information (Japan-Russia Relations)
  6. Response of the Government of Japan to recent announcements by the Government of the United States concerning sanctions against the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

    Q: President Clinton has lifted most of the sanctions against Pakistan and some against India. Did he inform Japan of his decision before making his announcement? Where do the Japanese sanctions stand in the context of the American decision?

    Mr. Okada: As far as I understand, the Government of the United States has not taken any decision towards the relaxation of the sanctions against those two countries. What I understand is that the US Administration, in response to the approval of the bill by the Congress of the United States on 21 October, is enabled to relax sanctions against India and Pakistan at its own discretion. In light of certain progress in the policies of India and Pakistan concerning nuclear non-proliferation, the US is considering the relaxation of its sanctions against those two countries for the time being. That is our understanding. Japan has been calling upon India and Pakistan to take positive steps concerning nuclear non-proliferation and taking into consideration the developments in this problem and other factors, including the positive statements by a former Indian Prime Minister in the General Assembly of the United Nations, Japan will examine what it can do in consultation with other countries including the United States. And of course, as I explained to you, the visit of Foreign Minister Aziz in now planned within a few weeks, therefore the talks with Foreign Minister Koumura will also be taken into account in our consideration.

    Related Information (Response of the Government of Japan to the Nuclear Tests Conducted by India and Pakistan)
  7. Announcement of extension of untied loans by the Government of Japan to the Russian Federation

    Q: Can you give some details concerning the decision about untied loans for Russia in the amount of US$1.5 billion which was announced Friday?

    Mr. Okada: First, Japan pledged this US$1.5 billion Export-Import Bank of Japan loan credit early this year. Within this US$1.5 billion, the exchange note was already signed for US$400 million. A few days ago there was a telephone conversation between Prime Minister Obuchi and Prime Minister Primakov where Prime Minister Obuchi explained to Prime Minister Primakov that we are now prepared to sign the further US$800 million exchange note. We are now ready to extend a further US$800 million in addition to the US$400 million which we already concluded.

    Q: Will it be in this year?

    Mr. Okada: We just explained that we are now ready and the initiative depends on the details, consultations and organization between the authorities concerned in Russia and Japan.

    Q: And the IMF?

    Mr. Okada: We should say between both sides first.

    Q: Russia and Japan?

    Mr. Okada: Russia and Japan. During that, of course, we have to take into account other factors. Maybe also the International Monetary Fund (IMF). First of all, we have to talk further with the Russian side.

    Related Information (Japan-Russia Relations)

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