Press Conference by the Press Secretary 17 November, 1998


  1. Announcement of Japan's cooperation with Australia to call for the early ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
  2. Itinerary for the upcoming visit to Japan of President William Jefferson Clinton of the United States of America
  3. Joint announcement by Japan and the United States of America regarding cooperation for a new US$10 billion fund for Asia
  4. The recently announced New Miyazawa Initiative
  5. Japan's total contribution to the bailout of Asian economies
  6. Upcoming visit to Japan of President Jiang Zemin of the People's Republic of China
  7. Moody's Investors Service downgrading of Japan's credit rating

  1. Announcement of Japan's cooperation with Australia to call for the early ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

    Deputy Press Secretary Masaki Okada: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Today, at the outset I would like to make a brief statement concerning the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). This morning, Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiko Koumura made a statement just after the conclusion of this morning's Cabinet meeting. I will explain to you what he announced this morning.

    Japan has decided to cooperate with Australia and call on the countries which have not ratified the CTBT to ratify it early so that the treaty will enter into force at an early date. Foreign Minister Koumura intends to send letters to that effect to the foreign ministers of the countries concerned. As for North Korea, Foreign Minister Koumura availed the opportunity of the press conference following this morning's Cabinet meeting to urge it to sign and ratify the Treaty. In this connection, Japan supports the Australian proposal to convene a conference to facilitate the ratification of the CTBT in September 1999. We will cooperate with other countries to substantially make it a preparatory meeting for the entry into force of the Treaty.

    For your information, the CTBT was adopted in September 1996. For its entry into force, ratification by the 44 states listed in the annex are needed. However, only ten of these 44 states have thus far become States Parties to the Treaty. Thirty-four countries, including three nuclear weapon states -- specifically, the United States of America, the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China -- and others including the Republic of India, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and North Korea have not ratified yet. Therefore, we made this statement this morning and will make efforts to call on those 34 countries to ratify the treaty as soon as possible.

    Related Information (Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation)
  2. Itinerary for the upcoming visit to Japan of President William Jefferson Clinton of the United States of America

    Q: I just need to confirm something. President Clinton is supposed to come to Tokyo the day after tomorrow. Is he proceeding with his trip to Japan?

    Mr. Okada: We understand that he canceled the visit to Kuala Lumpur, among other things, due to the situation in Iraq. The situation has been dealt with, and as far as we are informed by the United States, President William Jefferson Clinton of the United States is going to visit Japan directly from the United States on 19 November and will stay here one night. As for the details, this change was made just a few days ago therefore, we are now coordinating regarding the details of the itinerary.

    Q: Is there supposed to be a joint press conference on Thursday evening?Mr. Okada: Thursday evening? We are not in the position to tell you because the itinerary is not definite yet, as we have just started to rearrange it.

    Q: Do you know about his plan to have a town meeting?

    Mr. Okada: Yes, there was such an indicated intention from the United States' side. It is still up to the United States' side as to whether it follows through with this idea or not.

    Related Information (Japan-The United States Relations)
  3. Joint announcement by Japan and the United States of America regarding cooperation for a new US$10 billion fund for Asia

    Q: I am just trying to understand how this plan announced yesterday, simultaneously in Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and Washington, for Japan and the United States to cooperate on a new US$10 billion fund for Asia. I am trying to understand how that --

    Mr. Okada: Five billion dollars is the figure, I think.

    Q: I think the total that I see in the paper is US$10 billion. I think Japan's contribution is US$5 billion.

    Mr. Okada: It is my understanding that yesterday there was a joint explanation by the Japanese and American administrations in Kuala Lumpur, concerning the new multilateral initiative to revitalize private sector growth in Asia. This was a joint statement by President Clinton and Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, and we jointly announced that we are going to help the Asian countries, especially in the private sectors, and establish this program -- the amount which is foreseen for this mechanism is US$5 billion. That is the amount which is to be contributed either by the United States or by Japan and by other countries, also including international financial institutions. In addition to this US$5 billion, the United States also announced that it will cooperate in this area, with an additional US$5 billion. That is bilaterally, not through this international mechanism. As for the US$5 billion of this international cooperation, we are not sure which portion will be given by the United States and which portion will be from Japan. That, I believe, is up to future consultations.

  4. The recently announced New Miyazawa Initiative

    Q: How does this program relate to the Miyazawa Initiative from Japan?

    Mr. Okada: The New Miyazawa Initiative essentially is a bilateral initiative. It has therefore no duplication with the new joint Japan-US initiative which is intended to help Asian economies through international cooperation. They are two different programs.

    Q: Did the United States ask to join the Miyazawa Initiative?

    Mr. Okada: I am not very well informed about the proceedings or negotiations between the United States' and Japanese financial authorities. As far as I understand, this New Miyazawa Initiative is totally Japan's bilateral assistance and this other new idea is international cooperation. We are going to take up different types of measures under the new initiative.

    Q: Do you think the United States is trying to push its way into this business of helping Asia, to make sure that Japan does not get all the credit?

    Mr. Okada: I think there is this joint effort on the one hand, and there is also, on the other hand, the Japanese unilateral efforts. The United States also announced that it is going to extend US$5 billion in additional amounts for their bilateral projects. In that sense, we both make our best efforts towards the same objective.

  5. Japan's total contribution to the bailout of Asian economies

    Q: I am not a very good mathematician, but I think Japan's contribution to Asian bailouts so far is about US$43 billion.

    Mr. Okada: Now, we say that it is US$44 billion.

    Q: Forty-four. So you had US$30 billion plus you have the US$2 or 3 billion you contribute to this new joint initiative, so Japan's pledged amount is at least US$74 billion.

    Mr. Okada: This US$44 billion is not in pledges -- that is somewhat much more concrete. We have already extended certain amounts or we made some more concrete commitments for certain concrete projects and so on -- these are the US$44 billion. What Minister of Finance Kiichi Miyazawa announced recently was the framework for our future assistance to the Asian countries, namely US$30 billion -- US$15 billion for longer-term projects and US$15 billion for short-term problems. And in addition to these contributions or pledges, Japan is now ready to contribute to the new initiative, initially US$3 billion.

    Q: My point is that it is a lot of money.

    Mr. Okada: Oh yes.

    Q: Do you think it is justified when other countries criticize Japan for not doing enough to help Asia, given this kind of assistance?

    Mr. Okada: There are many different kinds of criticisms directed to Japan. Some people say that Japan has not done enough for the sake of the Asian economy. Others say that Japan is doing a sort of checkbook diplomacy. We think we are doing what we find is necessary, and first of all, we have to revitalize our own economy. Therefore, yesterday our Cabinet made a decision and made an announcement concerning the new Emergency Economic Package and this new Emergency Economic Package also includes certain portions of assistance to Asian countries, a part of which shall materialize the New Miyazawa Initiative. We are also willing to cooperate with other countries and when the New Miyazawa Initiative was announced, we made it clear that we are ready to cooperate with other countries in the efforts to revitalize the Asian economy. Therefore, in that sense, we welcome the initiative taken by the United States and we are glad to cooperate.

  6. Upcoming visit to Japan of President Jiang Zemin of the People's Republic of China

    Q: President Jiang Zemin is coming to Japan next week and can you tell me whether there will be any joint press conference after the meeting between Prime Minister Obuchi and President Jiang?

    Mr. Okada: Concerning the details of the itinerary of President Jiang Zemin of the People's Republic of China, I am still not in a position to tell you. Please wait a while until we can tell you more concretely what is going to happen.

    Related Information (Japan-China Relations)
  7. Moody's Investors Service downgrading of Japan's credit rating

    Q: You mentioned the 24 trillion yen economic package that was announced yesterday. Today, following the announcement of the package, the US rating company, Moody's Investors, downgraded Japan's credit rating. Could you comment on Moody's move?

    Mr. Okada: Moody's Investors Service is an independent company, therefore, it is up to its own evaluation and decision what to do, but we have sound and strong economic fundamentals and are now making our best efforts to revitalize our economy and to assist the revitalization of the Asian economy. Therefore, we may disagree with it, but it is a private company's initiative so we cannot influence it.


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