Press Conference 11 January 2005

  1. Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura on the election of Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as New Ra'ees of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority
  2. Upcoming visit by Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura to the Russian Federation, Israel and the Palestinian Autonomous Areas
  3. Congratulatory messages from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, New President (Ra'ees) of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, and from Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura to Dr. Nabeel Sha'ath, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority
  4. Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on the Signing Ceremony of a North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudana
  5. Dispatch of a second Japan Disaster Relief Medical Team in response to the disaster in Indonesia caused by the major Earthquake off the coast of Sumatra and the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean
  6. Emergency assistance for the disaster in Thailand caused by the major Earthquake off the coast of Sumatra and the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean
  7. Upcoming visit to Japan by Prime Minister Paul Martin of Canada
  8. Follow-up questions concerning upcoming visit by Foreign Minister Machimura to Russia
  9. Follow-up questions concerning upcoming visit to Japan by Canadian Prime Minister Martin

  1. Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura on the election of Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as New Ra'ees of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority

    Assistant Press Secretary Akira Chiba: Good afternoon and thank you very much for coming to the briefing. In spite of the announcement that we made, Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations Hatsuhisa Takashima unfortunately is not available at the moment, so I would like to make a couple of announcements on his part.

    The first announcement concerns the situation in Palestine. As you know, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), was elected as the new Ra'ees of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority. Concerning this election, Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura gave a statement yesterday on 10 January. I would like to read to you the content of the statement.

    In the election of Ra'ees of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority held on 9 January, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the PLO, was elected. On behalf of the Government of Japan and its people, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the new Ra'ees, Mr. Abbas, the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority and the Palestinians.

    Japan appreciates the fact that the election was held in a generally fair, free and transparent manner.

    At present, there exists a historic opportunity to advance the "Roadmap" towards the peaceful coexistence of the two states of Israel and Palestine. I strongly expect that Mr. Abbas, exerting leadership as the new Ra'ees and taking this opportunity, will further promote efforts for consolidating peace with Israel, as well as tackling the reconstruction of a responsible governing system of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government and also the restoration of public order.

    Japan intends, more than ever, to play a proactive role to realize the Middle East peace process. During my visit to the Palestinian Autonomous Areas and Israel from 15 January, I will consult with officials of both parties on this issue.

    Related Information (Japan-Palestinian Authorities Relations)
  2. Upcoming visit by Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura to the Russian Federation, Israel and the Palestinian Autonomous Areas

    Mr. Chiba: As I have read out, in the last part of the statement, Foreign Minister Machimura mentioned his visit to the region. I would now like to go on with another statement concerning Foreign Minister Machimura's visit to the Russian Federation, Israel and the Palestinian Autonomous Areas.

    Mr. Nobutaka Machimura, Minister for Foreign Affairs, will visit the Russian Federation, Israel and the Palestinian Autonomous Areas from 13 to 19 January.

    In Russia, Foreign Minister Machimura will have talks with Mr. Sergey Lavrov, his counterpart, on various matters including the issue of a peace agreement, based on the agreement on their mutual visits in preparation for President Vladimir Putin's visit to Japan that they reached when they had talks in Santiago, Republic of Chile, in November last year at the time of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

    In Israel and the Palestinian Autonomous Areas, Foreign Minister Machimura will urge the new Abbas Administration, which came into being after the election of the new Ra'ees of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, and the Government of Israel, to make efforts for peace and convey to both sides Japan's support for those efforts.

    Related Information (Japan-Russia Relations)
    Related Information (Japan-Israel Relations)
    Related Information (Japan-Palestinian Authorities Relations)
  3. Congratulatory messages from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, New President (Ra'ees) of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, and from Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura to Dr. Nabeel Sha'ath, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority

    Mr. Chiba: For your information on this issue, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi sent a message of congratulations to Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, the new Ra'ees of the Palestinian Self-Government Authority. Foreign Minister Machimura, apart from having made a statement, also sent a message of congratulations to Mr. Nabeel Sha'ath, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority. I will not read out the exact content of the messages. I will just read out the gist of the messages:

    I extend my congratulations upon the election of Mr. Abbas as the new Ra'ees. I hope Mr. Abbas will demonstrate his leadership to rebuilt responsible systems of government, including the issue of public safety, and make further efforts for the peace process with Israel. Japan will proactively support the peace process efforts of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority. We will also strive to further promote friendly relations between Japan and the Palestinians.

    Related Information (Japan-Palestinian Authorities Relations)
  4. Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on the Signing Ceremony of a North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan

    Mr. Chiba: Another statement concerns the Republic of the Sudan. This is a statement by the Press Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the signing ceremony of a North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan.

    The Government of Japan welcomes the holding of the signing ceremony in Nairobi, Republic of Kenya on 9 January, on the North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). This Agreement will put an end to the civil war in Sudan, one of the longest conflicts in Africa which lasted for more than twenty years. This Agreement has been made possible by the confidence building efforts among the parties to the conflicts who have continued their peace talks strenuously. The Government of Japan expresses its respect for the efforts made by the parties concerned, including those by the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which has led the peace talks and those by Kenya which has hosted the peace talks.

    The Government of Japan encourages the parties concerned with the humanitarian problems in Darfur region to exert their peace efforts so that these problems will also be solved without delay following the successful agreement on the comprehensive peace between the North and the South. Stability in Sudan, the largest country in Africa, is expected to bring about positive impacts on the stability of the entire African continent. Japan, as a member of the international community, is ready to play a positive role for the consolidation of peace in Sudan.

    Related Information (Statement by the Press Secretary/ Director-General for Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the Signing Ceremony of a North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan)
  5. Dispatch of a second Japan Disaster Relief Medical Team in response to the disaster in Indonesia caused by the major Earthquake off the coast of Sumatra and the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean

    Mr. Chiba: I would now like to turn to the situation in the Republic of Indonesia. Japan will dispatch a second Japan Disaster Relief Medical Team in response to the disaster in Indonesia caused by the major earthquake off the coast of Sumatra and the tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

    On 7 January, the Government of Japan decided to dispatch a second Japan Disaster Relief Medical Team of 21 including officials of the Foreign Ministry, doctors, nurses and pharmacists, for two weeks from 8 January to Indonesia for the relief of the disaster caused by the major earthquake off the coast of Sumatra and the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, in succession to the first team whose dispatch was decided on 29 December.

    The team now on dispatch has been treating up to 270 patients per day-most of them suffering from external injuries, eye disorders, colds and diarrhea-and also giving advice on public hygiene. Although the first team will return to Japan on 12 January, because the need for medical personnel in Indonesia is still high, Japan has decided to dispatch this second Japan Disaster Relief Medical Team.

    Related Information (Dispatch of a Second Japan Disaster Relief Medical Team in Response to the Disaster in Indonesia Caused by the Major Earthquake off the Coast of Sumatra and the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean)
  6. Emergency assistance for the disaster in Thailand caused by the major Earthquake off the coast of Sumatra and the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean

    Mr. Chiba: Further assistance will be provided to the Kingdom of Thailand.

    The Government of Japan, in light of the massive damage in the coastal areas along the Andaman Sea in the Kingdom of Thailand, caused by multiple tsunamis in the Indian Ocean, has decided to dispatch to the Government of Thailand another Japan Disaster Relief Expert Team of three experts to identify the corpses of the disaster victims. The team left Japan on 9 January to work in the affected areas with the cooperation of local organizations concerned.

    A Japan Disaster Relief Expert Team was dispatched on 4 January for extraction and examination of DNA specimens to identify the dead victims of the disaster and is already working in Crabi and elsewhere.

    Related Information (Emergency Assistance for the Disaster in Thailand Caused by the Major Earthquake off the Coast of Sumatra and Tsunami in the Indian Ocean)
  7. Upcoming visit to Japan by Prime Minister Paul Martin of Canada

    Mr. Chiba: My last announcement concerns the visit of a dignitary to Japan.

    Mr. Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, will visit Japan from 19 to 20 January at the invitation of the Government of Japan.

    During his stay in Japan, Prime Minister Martin will have talks with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

    Related Information (The Right Honourable Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, to Visit Japan)
  8. Follow-up questions concerning upcoming visit by Foreign Minister Machimura to Russia

    Q: My questions are about Foreign Minister Machimura's visit to Russia. Besides the arrangement for Russian President Putin's visit to Japan, what else will they discuss about? Will they discuss such items as economic cooperation including energy cooperation or auto cooperation? Will they discuss the Four Northern Islands issue and to what extent? Foreign Minister Machimura's visit this time is to push for President Putin's visit to Japan. Will they discuss it in detail or just touch on it?

    Mr. Chiba: The visit by Foreign Minister Machimura to Russia will be undertaken in preparation for President Putin's visit that is scheduled for later this year. As a result, the talks will concern the visit by President Putin to Japan. It will include various bilateral issues as well as issues of mutual concern. At this point, however, I choose not to disclose the agenda of the meeting.

    Q: How long will Foreign Minister Machimura be staying in Russia?

    Mr. Chiba: Foreign Minister Machimura will leave on 13 January and will leave Moscow on 15 January.

    Related Information (Japan-Russia Relations)
  9. Follow-up questions concerning upcoming visit to Japan by Canadian Prime Minister Martin

    Q: Could you tell us on which date the summit between Prime Minister Koizumi and Canadian Prime Minister Martin will take place?

    Mr. Chiba: I have to check on that, and I will come back to you later.

    Q: Could you give us more detail on the topics that the leaders will likely discuss during the summit? Are they possibly going to talk about how to deal with the aftermath of the tsunami?

    Mr. Chiba: There were indications that the Canadian side was interested in how the aftermath of the disaster should be dealt with, but at this moment, I have no agenda with me as to what the two leaders will talk about.

    Related Information (Japan-Canada Relations)

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