Press Conference by the Press Secretary 19 February, 1999

  1. Simplification of format of application form for foreign press identification cards from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Press Center
  2. Holding of the Second Joint Committee on the Joint Production of Visual Materials for the Co-hosting of Korea-Japan the 2002 FIFA World Cup
  3. Visit of Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov of the Russian Federation to Japan from 20 to 23 February
  4. Visit of Foreign Relations Minister Roberto Robaina Gonzalez of the Republic of Cuba to Japan from 22 to 27 February
  5. Visit of President Eduard Shevardnadze of the Republic of Georgia to Japan from 4 to 8 March
  6. Meeting of the Consultative Group on Cambodia in Tokyo from 25 to 26 February
  7. Trade and investment relations between Japan and the Republic of India

  1. Simplification of format of application form for foreign press identification cards from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Press Center

    Press Secretary Sadaaki Numata: Good afternoon. I have three announcements to make. The first announcement is about you in fact, in the sense that we have changed the format of the application form for foreign press identification cards. On this, the Foreign Press Center (FPC) is I think distributing a sort of circular. I will not go into the details but as you know we have had this practice of asking the ladies and gentlemen of the foreign media to obtain foreign press identity cards if they wish to conduct their media activities at this Ministry or to seek information through other means from Foreign Ministry sources or to benefit from the services of the FPC. We have taken a look at this procedure, specifically the format of the application form, with the thought in mind that this practice is really designed not to restrict your activities as it were, but to facilitate our work in catering to the needs of the non-Japanese media organizations and we have come to the conclusion that the former can be simplified somewhat. So you will see the application cards in a new format. The changes for example are that we will no longer require you to go into details about your personal resumé, personal history and about your marital status and so forth so that I think there has been a considerable degree of simplification. As I said, the FPC will let you know about it, but I wanted to refer briefly to the consideration that went behind it.

  2. Holding of the Second Joint Committee on the Joint Production of Visual Materials for the Co-hosting of Korea-Japan the 2002 FIFA World Cup

    Press Secretary Sadaaki Numata: The second announcement is about the holding of the Second Joint Committee on the Joint Production of Visual Materials for the Co-hosting of Korea-Japan the 2002 FIFA World Cup. That is quite a mouthful. It is basically about a joint effort by the Government of the Republic of Korea and our Government to produce materials for television programs with a view to the co-hosting of the 2002 World Cup. We are holding this committee on 25 February in Tokyo. The committee is chaired on the Japanese by the Press Secretary / Director-General for Press and Public Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that is me, and on the side of the Republic of Korea, Assistant Minister Park Young Gil of the Korean Overseas Culture and Information Service. We have people from the Ministry of Education, I believe, as well as someone from the Japan Organising Committee for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea-Japan and some experts in the field, either in terms of visual television production or, in fact, we have a rather well-known mangaka cartoonist on our committee as well, by the name of Mr. Shintaro Ko. This joint production was agreed on at the First Joint Committee meeting which took place in January last year, attended by my predecessor, Mr. Hiroshi Hashimoto, and Mr. Parks's predecessor, and the idea is to produce one video program, for short, per year. So we will be producing four. The purpose of these video programs is to let the world know about this joint undertaking between Japan and the Republic of Korea to co-host the World Cup and through that process, also to increase the understanding on the part of the outside world about Japan and the Republic of Korea in general, thereby to foster a climate which would be conducive to the co-hosting of the World Cup. The Japanese side has been responsible for the production of the first video, which is nearly completed and the Joint Committee will approve this first video and we will be talking about how to disseminate this to, not only the Japanese and Korean audiences, but also to audiences in the whole wide world. So when it is all ready, if you are interested, we will be happy to show it to you.

    Related Information (Japan-Republic of Korea Relations)
  3. Visit of Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov of the Russian Federation to Japan from 20 to 23 February

    Press Secretary Sadaaki Numata: My third announcement is about the visit by Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov of the Russian Federation who will be visiting Japan starting tomorrow, 20 February until Tuesday, 23 February. He will be meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiko Koumura in the context of the Japan-Russian Federation Joint Committee on the Conclusion of the Peace Treaty as well as in the context of the twelfth round of the regular bilateral consultations between the Foreign Ministers of Japan and Russia. In the course of his stay, he will also have the opportunity to call on Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and other Government leaders.

    Related Information (Japan-Russia Relations)
  4. Visit of Foreign Relations Minister Roberto Robaina Gonzalez of the Republic of Cuba to Japan from 22 to 27 February

    Q: I am interested in the visit of the Cuban Foreign Minister, Mr. Robaina. I know it was discussed at the last press conference. Could you give me information about his visit to Japan?

    Mr. Numata: Shall I give you a sort of very brief rundown? Mr. Roberto Robaina Gonzalez, the Foreign Minister of Cuba, will be visiting Japan as the guest of the Foreign Ministry, from Monday, 22 February to Saturday, 27 February. In the course of his stay, he will be meeting his counterpart, Foreign Minister Koumura, as well as State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura and members of the Diet, people in business circles as well as some university people. I think he is giving a lecture at a university in Aichi prefecture. He will also be visiting Hiroshima. He is of course visiting Nagoya. That is why I said he will be giving a lecture at a university in Aichi prefecture. This visit is taking place as a result of the invitation extended by Foreign Minister Koumura to Foreign Minister Robaina when they met in the course of the Fifty-Third Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York last September. We expect the two Foreign Ministers to be discussing the whole range of bilateral relations between Japan and Cuba. I might also mention that following the meeting between the two Foreign Ministers in New York last year, there was a bilateral policy dialogue between Japan and Cuba which took place in Havana in October last year. There have been a considerable degree of mutual visits in recent years. One of the factors behind that was the cooperative attitude shown by Cuba to us when we were grappling with the question of the terrorist attack on our Ambassador's residence in Lima, Peru. We expect the two Foreign Ministers to engage in political dialogue as well as discuss economic matters in the context of our support for democratization, the improvement of the human rights situation, and for economic reform and so forth and also in view of the fact that there are some trade and investment activities between Japan and Cuba. There is some possibility for economic assistance which may also be discussed, although we have not been in a position to extend grant aid and yen credits in general terms in the light of our Official Development Assistance (ODA) Charter. Is that a sufficient readout?

    Q: Do you have the amount of aid that Japan has already given to Cuba in ODA?

    Mr. Numata: Yes. I can give you some indication with a caveat. As I said earlier, that because of our ODA Charter which takes into account the conditions on the part of the recipient countries with respect to democratization, human rights and the moves towards the market economy and so forth, we have not been extending general grant aid and yen credits. However we have been extending for example, what we call grassroot grant assistance, that is grant assistance which is given to for example, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which are operating in Cuba. We came to an agreement in July 1997 about the introduction of this form of assistance and in 1998 we extended US$69,300 to an organization called Carritas Cubana for their program to provide insulin to people suffering from diabetes and also US$9,100 to a program to cure venereal diseases, a program carried out by I believe, Médecins sans Frontiers. Also, in the light of the drought and the severe food shortage as a result of the el niño phenomenon last year, we extended an emergency humanitarian assistance of 1 billion yen to the Cuban Government and also through the World Food Programme (WFP) we contributed US$770,000. Then there was also Hurricane Georges in September last year, and we extended emergency assistance of US$50,000 and also we provided emergency relief materials amounting to 16 million yen. So those are the examples.

    Related Information (Japan-Cuba Relations)
  5. Visit of President Eduard Shevardnadze of the Republic of Georgia to Japan from 4 to 8 March

    Q: What are the main topics and what may be discussed between Mr. Shevardnadze and Prime Minister Obuchi?

    Mr. Numata: We do attach importance to the development of our relationship with the Republic of Georgia and other countries. You might recall our reference to the importance that we attach to what we might call the Silk Road diplomacy. That includes a number of central Asian countries as well as Georgia and other countries. It will be largely in that context. At the same time, President Eduard Shevardnadze of the Republic of Georgia is very well-known to us. As the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, he visited Japan three times; in 1986, 1988 and 1990. So in that sense there is a sort of renewing of old friendship. In that context, we look forward to welcoming President Shevardnadze. He will be making a State Call on Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan in the course of his stay. Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress will also host a Court Luncheon in honor of the President and Mrs. Shevardnadze. So the visit is taking place the context of our hope of further strengthening the friendly relations between Japan and Georgia.

    Q: Do you think that some agreements will be concluded?

    Mr. Numata: I do not know whether we are contemplating any kind of specific agreement or documents to come out of it. We still have some time before the visit.

    Related Information (Japan-Georgia Relations)
  6. Meeting of the Consultative Group on Cambodia in Tokyo from 25 to 26 February

    Q: About the Cambodia aid meeting next week, there have been a number of different reports in the press about possible amounts of aid that Japan might pledge at this meeting. Can you make any comments on that?

    Mr. Numata: Yes, I could make a one-sentence comment or a comment which might be a bit longer. The short answer is that we have not come to any specific decision as to the amount of aid that we might pledge at this meeting. Having said that, we are looking intensively at the question of what sort of assistance we might be able to extend to the Kingdom of Cambodia and we do attach importance to the efforts on the part of the Government of Cambodia to continue with its nation building, especially after the birth of the new Government. It is certainly our intention to extend as much support as we can to the development and prosperity of Cambodia. With that in mind, we are carrying out intensive discussions within our own Government to come to some sort of decision about the amount that we might be pledging. I might mention as a background that in the last Cambodia Consultative Group meeting which took place in July 1997, the Consultative Group as a whole, the donors attending that meeting as a whole, pledged assistance amounting in total to US$450 million and Japan on its part pledged for that year, that is fiscal year 1997, 8 billion yen worth of development assistance and US$1 million for support to de-mining activities. I am aware of some figures being talked about in the Japanese press, but I am not in a position to confirm them. However, in any event I think there will be some indication of the total aid requirement on the part of Cambodia and it will be on that basis that we will be deciding on our specific amount.

    Related Information (Japan-Cambodia Relations)
  7. Trade and investment relations between Japan and the Republic of India

    Q: I understand the Indian Foreign Vice Minister will have talks with MITI officials next week. What do you expect out of those talks?

    Mr. Numata: I am sure they will be discussing bilateral trade and investment issues, but I am sorry that I do not have further details. I do not have any more details on the policy dialogue between the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and the Indian Foreign Ministry, but there is to be a policy dialogue. However, I might mention that there was the Japan-India trade consultation which took place in Tokyo on 5 February. I might also mention that trade and other economic relations are going on as usual. What has been affected by the nuclear testing has been our ODA to the Republic of India. In that context, when we had these Japan-India trade consultations between Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Kouichi Haraguchi and Secretary of Commerce P.P. Prabhu of the Republic of India, they talked about the macroeconomic policies of both countries and trade and investment relations between our two countries. The Indian side expressed the wish for diversification of Japanese imports from India. The Indian side expressed the wish for further investment by Japanese businesses into India. They also discussed multilateral cooperation under the rubric of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and so forth. So although I do not know the details about the discussion to take place between MITI and the Indian Foreign Ministry, I would not be surprised if some of these topics were also echoed in that consultation. However, perhaps the question can be better addressed to MITI. Any further questions?

    Related Information (Japan-India Relations)

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