Press Conference 28 November 2000

  1. The ASEAN+3 Leaders' Meeting
  2. The Japan-Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders' Meeting
  3. Trilateral meeting between the leaders of Japan, the People's Republic of China, and the Republic of Korea
  4. Announcement on the Sixth Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP6)
  5. Response to a recent newspaper report about Japan's contribution to the budget of the United Nations
  6. Questions on the situation of former President Alberto Fujimori of the Republic of Peru
  7. Questions concerning the espionage trial involving a former Self-Defense Force officer
  8. Questions on recent comments by members of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on Japan's official development assistance (ODA) budget
  9. Questions on the status of the Japanese Embassy in the Republic of Iraq

  1. The ASEAN+3 Leaders' Meeting

    Press Secretary Ryuichiro Yamazaki: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to start today's press conference with five items at the outset, the first three of which relate to the recent trip to the Republic of Singapore by Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori.

    I would just like to give you some of the results and salient points from the three meetings that took place in Singapore, namely the ASEAN+3 Leaders' Meeting, the Japan-Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders' Meeting, and the trilateral meeting between the leaders of Japan, the People's Republic of China, and the Republic of Korea.

    At the ASEAN+3 Leaders' Meeting, Prime Minister Mori emphasized two major points: the future of East Asia and how Japan is enhancing cooperation in East Asia.

    On the future of East Asia, Prime Minister Mori touched upon three principles for enhancing open regional cooperation in East Asia: (1) building partnership in the context of ASEAN+3; (2) enhancing ASEAN+3 as a framework for open regional cooperation which complements and strengthens the global systems; (3) developing ASEAN+3 cooperation in a well-balanced manner in each of the fields that were taken up in the Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation, which was agreed upon by our foreign ministers in Bangkok in July.

    As for enhancing cooperation in East Asia per se, Prime Minister Mori explained several initiatives on the part of Japan. In relation to information technology (IT), the first initiative referred to was the "Joint Conference of Government Officials, Prominent Academics, and Business Leaders for IT Cooperation in Asia" to be held in Japan in 2001. The second initiative outlined was the dispatch of policy-dialogue missions concerning IT cooperation to implement Japan's comprehensive cooperation package to address the international digital divide, announced earlier this summer, totaling US$15 billion over the next five years. I told you earlier this month that we have already sent the first IT policy-dialogue mission, from late October to early November, to three countries: the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of the Philippines, and the Kingdom of Thailand. The third initiative indicated in this area was human resources development for engineers in IT. We intend to train IT engineers from East Asia in Japan.

    The second major area touched upon was anti-piracy. In this context the "Regional Conference on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships," to be held in Tokyo next year, was announced, as was assistance to the anti-piracy workshop to be held in Thailand in March next year. In addition, the need to eradicate the root causes of piracy was emphasized, and in this connection Japan expressed strong will to work toward the eradication of poverty and to strengthen economic cooperation in this area.

    The third area addressed was the Chiang Mai Initiative, and the commencement of bilateral negotiations, based upon the principles agreed upon for the implementation of the Chiang Mai Initiative. Financial cooperation to the ASEAN Secretariat for the strengthening of regional financial cooperation was also mentioned. If you are interested, I have a more detailed press statement that was distributed at that time.

    It was noted that a millennium forum, "The Voice of Asia," would be held in Okinawa next February with the objective of assembling opinion leaders and journalists from Asia so that we can hear their voices as we explore further fruitful cooperation into the new millennium.

    Finally, in relation to political and security areas, Prime Minister Mori also touched upon the Korean Peninsula and the Republic of Indonesia as being very important for the stability of the whole Asian region.

    At this meeting of the ASEAN+3, President Kim Dae-jung of the Republic of Korea suggested that we establish an East Asia study group so the ASEAN+3 could discuss at the government-level how we can promote further cooperation in East Asia.

    During the discussions concerning the ASEAN+3 forum the idea of a future East Asian summit was floated. While there was no conclusion on that notion, it was the feeling of the group that an East Asia study group could certainly take up the notion and give it further study.

    Related Information (ASEAN+3 Meeting)
  2. The Japan-Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders' Meeting

    Mr. Yamazaki: The Japan-ASEAN Leaders' Meeting first of all looked at the report of the Eminent Persons Group, "Toward Vision 2020: ASEAN-Japan Consultation Conference on the Hanoi Plan of Action." It was in 1998 that the Eminent Persons Group was initiated by then Prime Minister Keizo 0buchi, and it was at the Japan-ASEAN Leaders' Meeting in Singapore that the Eminent Persons Group presented their report. In order to follow up this report, it was agreed to set up a task force. If you would like copies, you are most welcome to pick them up.

    Prime Minister Mori explained Japan's initiative in relation to the US$15 billion comprehensive cooperation package for IT, announced in July this year, and mentioned that Japan is attaching importance to the ASEAN region in the implementation of the package. Furthermore, in order to further promote cooperation in the IT sector between Japan and ASEAN, it was also announced that Japan would hold a joint conference of government officials, etc., which I mentioned earlier in relation to ASEAN+3.

    There was also some discussion from our side concerning the importance of a prompt launching of a new round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations, as well as the importance of reform of the United Nations (UN) and the Security Council, and that Japan and ASEAN should continue to cooperate in these areas.

    Prime Minister Mori also announced a new program to invite high school students from ASEAN to Japan, initially starting with 100 students who would stay for a few weeks. Then from 2002 the period of stay might be extended up to one year for some students in order that they might not only learn about Japan and the Japanese language but also acquire skills in special areas, such as agriculture, technology, engineering, and others.

    Finally, in relation to the US$15 billion package for information technology, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong of the Republic of Singapore, representing the ASEAN side, said that we should name the package after Prime Minister Mori, "Mori e-Action," since various initiatives in the past have taken the name of the then Prime Minister, for example, the Fukuda Doctrine, the Miyazawa Initiative, and most recently the Obuchi Plan.

    Related Information (Japan-ASEAN Relations)
  3. Trilateral meeting between the leaders of Japan, the People's Republic of China, and the Republic of Korea

    Mr. Yamazaki: Firstly, it was agreed to hold this meeting on a regular basis along the sidelines of the annual ASEAN+3 Leaders' Meeting. Next year the ASEAN+3 Leaders' Meeting is going to be held in Brunei Darussalam, and Japan will make the necessary arrangements for this trilateral meeting.

    It was also agreed to establish the year 2002 as the year of exchange among the peoples of our three countries, Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea. Against the background of the joint hosting of the World Cup, Japan and the Republic of Korea already have plans to establish the year 2002 as the year of bilateral exchanges. However, due to the existence of various exchange programs between the three countries, it was decided amongst the leaders to make the year 2002 as a year of trilateral exchanges between our peoples.

    Related Information (ASEAN+3 Meeting)
  4. Announcement on the Sixth Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP6)

    Mr. Yamazaki: My fourth announcement is on the recent Sixth Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP6) held at The Hague in the Netherlands.

    Minister of State, Director-General of the Environment Agency Yoriko Kawaguchi, as well as Senior State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Kiyohiro Araki, Ambassador for International Economic Affairs and Global Environmental Affairs Kazuo Asakai, and others participated. Although the Japanese delegation took various initiatives, such as Minister Kawaguchi acting as the co-chair of the sub-group on emissions trading, and made its best efforts, unfortunately we could not reach agreement.

    It is the intention of the Government of Japan to try to maintain the international momentum behind this very important exercise and do our best in working with other countries as well as getting support from the Japanese public to bring into effect the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible.

    Related Information (Climate Change)
  5. Response to a recent newspaper report about Japan's contribution to the budget of the United Nations

    Mr. Yamazaki: Finally, over the weekend a Japanese newspaper reported about Japan's contribution to the budget of the United Nations--presently it is a little over 20 percent--but the newspaper reported that it would be brought down to 17 percent.

    It is true that right now in the United Nations the issue of how to determine the contribution of each Member State vis-à-vis the United Nations budget is being discussed. This process, in which the contributions of Member States are agreed upon for the next three years, is undertaken every three years.

    It has been a long-standing view that one of the important pillars of reform of the United Nations is reform in the budgetary area in order to stabilize the budgetary foundation of the United Nations. Budgetary contribution should be based upon, among other things, the economic stature as well as the responsibilities or position of the Member State within the UN family. It has been our basic view that we should work toward a more equitable sharing of the budget.

    We are still going through negotiations, but it is not true that we have decided upon bringing Japan's present contribution down to 17 percent as reported.

    Related Information (Japan and the United Nations)

  6. Questions on the situation of former President Alberto Fujimori of the Republic of Peru

    Q: Could you confirm what is the visa status of former Peruvian President Fujimori right now? And as far as the Japanese Government is concerned, are you allowing him to stay in Japan for as long as he wishes? There are some reports that he has Japanese citizenship. Do you have any confirmation on that?

    Mr. Yamazaki: First of all, in response to your last question, as to the status of the nationality of former President Alberto Fujimori of the Republic of Peru, we are still checking. In reply to all your questions, we are doing what is proper under domestic legislation.

    As to your point about the visa, the visa status is the status when you enter the country, and as I said last week, when former President Fujimori entered the country he was still a president and had a diplomatic visa, so of course he entered Japan properly. As to the term of former President Fujimori's stay, it relates to the fact that he is no longer a president but a private citizen, so his status has changed. But it does not mean that he is obliged to leave the country right away. There is a sort of interim period during which we have to see what action we take under our domestic legislation.

    Q: Has the Peruvian Government so far contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with any requests?

    Mr. Yamazaki: Not to my knowledge.

    Q: For how long can he stay?

    Mr. Yamazaki: I just indicated to you that I am not in a position to answer that question. There is this interim period, but we are not really the ministry in charge. The relevant authority is the Ministry of Justice.

    Q: Are you concerned that if he plans to stay here that would spoil Japan's relations with Peru?

    Mr. Yamazaki: We are dealing with the case of former President Fujimori according to the appropriate procedures under our domestic law. I have no further comment to make on that question.

    Q: About what you are doing under domestic legislation, what is this interim period? How long is the interim period legislated for?

    Mr. Yamazaki: It is not for me to reply to that. What I am suggesting is that just because the status of former President Fujimori changes, it does not mean that anyone is immediately obliged to leave. That is normal practice from what I understand.

    Q: OK, so there is an interim period that is in fact fixed by law, but you are not aware of what it is?

    Mr. Yamazaki: I did not say it was fixed by law, but it is within the administrative judgment of the Ministry of Justice. I think you should check with that ministry, as we are not in a position to say anything about the interim period per se.

    Q: Then to clarify, what is the Foreign Ministry's role in this process, if any at all, of establishing whether or not Mr. Fujimori has the right to make an extended stay in Japan? Are you simply waiting for the Ministry of Justice to hand you a piece of paper in the future saying either, "Yes, he can stay" or "No, he is not a Japanese citizen"? Are you involved in some advisory capacity? I just notice that from the press conference of the Minister of Justice that he did not want to comment on the case because he did not know what the Foreign Ministry's diplomatic line was on this issue. So in one sense, I feel like we are hearing from the Foreign Ministry that it is really the Justice Ministry's purview, and then I hear from the Justice Ministry that "Oh, we really cannot say anything until the Foreign Ministry has laid down its diplomatic line." It seems from my perspective at least to be a bit of passing the ball. Could you clarify what your role is in this?

    Mr. Yamazaki: As I said earlier, we are just abiding by our procedures. Former President Fujimori is a private citizen, and he is entitled to the privacy of the individual. And that is that. I do not want to "catch ball" with other ministries. I have not yet seen the text of the press conference at the Ministry of Justice.

    Q: A related question: You said that you are still checking the nationality issue. Once the procedure is over, will you make it official or not?

    Mr. Yamazaki: I cannot comment on that at the present time. It involves a private citizen.

    Related Information (Japan-Peru Relations)
  7. Questions concerning the espionage trial involving a former Self-Defense Force officer

    Q: On a different issue, yesterday a former Self-Defense Force officer pleaded guilty in the court to the charge of leaking information to the former Russian military attaché. On this issue, have you been in contact with the Russian Government? Could you tell us where you stand, as far as the Japanese Government is concerned, on this case?

    Mr. Yamazaki: Firstly, I have only seen press reports myself, and those reports were about what took place at the trial yesterday. Of course, the Government does not make any comment on a case in trial. As to your first question about liaison with the Government of the Russian Federation, I do not know which point in time you are specifically referring to; if you are talking about earlier in September when this incident occurred, or are you talking about the trial or what?

    Q: When former Captain Bogatenkov left for Moscow in September, at that stage, did you ask the Russian Government to cooperate in terms of the investigation? And now that this trial is happening, obviously, the Japanese side needs more information from Russia. Are you working on this?

    Mr. Yamazaki: At the time when the incident occurred in September, of course, through regular diplomatic channels people in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were in touch with the Embassy of Russia in Tokyo. We announced that to the press at that time, because that was an incident that we certainly had concerns about. But as I said, the trial is currently in progress, so we are not in a position to say one thing or another on this issue; we have to wait for the outcome of the trial, etc.

    Q: But this is an international matter, and both governments need to help each other in terms of getting more information from the Russian side. Is there some tunnel between the two governments?

    Mr. Yamazaki: I do not know to what extent this has been taking place of recent. From today, the Minister of Defense Igor Sergeyev of the Russian Federation is in Tokyo to have bilateral talks to increase the dialogue between Japan and Russia, which is a very high-level visit on the part of the Russian side, and we certainly hope that it will move forward the dialogue between our two countries. However, on the trial itself, the Government is not in a position to say anything at this time. This matter was raised with the Russian side in September, several times.

    Q: Will that incident be on the agenda of the talks to which you just now referred to?

    Mr. Yamazaki: I am not in the position to talk on behalf of the Japan Defense Agency. I would appreciate if could you address that to the officials at the JDA. In the meantime, Minister for Foreign Affairs Yohei Kono has recently visited Russia, and we are moving forward in our bilateral relations through these various exchanges.

    Related Information (Japan-Russia Relations)
  8. Questions on recent comments by members of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on Japan's official development assistance (ODA) budget

    There have been increasing calls from some LDP politicians to reduce Japanese ODA. I saw a report saying that Mr. Shizuka Kamei asked for a 30 percent cut to the budget. What is the Foreign Ministry's reply to these calls?

    Mr. Yamazaki: First of all, we have yet to get in contact with Chairman Shizuka Kamei of the Policy Research Council of the Liberal Democratic Party to seek what his views are. However, as far as our overall foreign policy is concerned, official development assistance (ODA) is certainly a very important instrument, helping the plight of developing countries in coping with their problems of poverty, development in general, environment, and in many other areas, which actually connect with the notion of human security, an idea that we have been promoting. We think that the international community has been appreciative of Japan's efforts.

    At the same time we must always make efforts to make ODA more effective and more efficient, and we will certainly continue to pursue our efforts in that direction. More specifically, we have some follow-up to the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit, including in the IT package, and also the infectious diseases initiative of US$3 billion over the next five years, involving a lot of ODA. Also, we want to continue to assist the South East Asian countries in their recovery from the recent economic crisis. In consultation with the LDP, we hope to formulate the necessary budget to implement the necessary ODA.

    Q: So you are already having consultations?

    Mr. Yamazaki: We have already had a meeting--the LDP has an economic cooperation committee and other relevant bodies. We always want to maintain close contact with the LDP.

    Q: You mentioned giving Asia some assistance from the IT budget. Are you concentrating on East Asia? How much of the US$15 billion will go to East Asia and what percentages will go to other parts of the world? What are different parts of the world receiving?

    Mr. Yamazaki: We cannot say at this time. Although we said that we would place emphasis on ASEAN, we cannot say anything more than that. This US$15 billion package involves private-sector funds as well as ODA; it is not just ODA. We will do our best to have many countries benefit from it.

    Related Information (Japan's ODA)
  9. Questions on the status of the Japanese Embassy in the Republic of Iraq

    Q: There was some report that Japan reopened it embassy in Iraq, unofficially and on a limited basis. What does that mean?

    Mr. Yamazaki: That report is not true. We have people go to Baghdad from time to time to maintain the embassy building there and also to gather information. It is true that in recent months there has been more contact, especially involving some private-sector people vis-à-vis the humanitarian oil-for-food program. The frequency of visits has increased, but it is not a change in the status of the present embassy in Baghdad.

    Q: Why does Japan have this status for its embassy in Baghdad in the first place?

    Mr. Yamazaki: We have maintained that status for the last few years. You know the present situation in terms of relations with Iraq and Security Council Resolutions, etc. As to the exact rationale, our basic position is one of trying to encourage Iraq to comply with Security Council Resolution 1284.

    Q: Japan insists that Iraq must comply with all the UN Security Council Resolutions, but there are other countries that have not complied with UN Security Council Resolutions, but we see Japanese is silent toward these countries. What is your comment?

    Mr. Yamazaki: As far as Security Council Resolution 1284 is concerned, correct me if I am wrong, but the international community at large is encouraging Iraq to observe that resolution.

    Related Information (Japan-Iraq Relations)

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