Press Conference 18 January 2005

  1. Visit by Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura to the Russian Federation, the Palestinian Autonomous Areas and Israel
  2. Visit by Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Ichiro Aisawa to Turkmenistan
  3. United Nations (UN) World Conference on Disaster Reduction
  4. Assistance for the Republic of Indonesia, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives
  5. Dispatch of third Japan Disaster Relief Medical Team to Indonesia
  6. Visits by Parliamentary Secretaries for Foreign Affairs Mr. Itsunori Onodera and Mr. Keishiro Fukushima to Africa and Southeast Asia
  7. Dispatch of a Special Envoy for the inauguration ceremony of the President of Ukraine
  8. Upcoming visit to Japan by the Rt. Hon. Sir Michael Thomas Somare, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and Lady Veronica Somare
  9. Upcoming panel discussion on role of localities
  10. Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura on a "Millennium Project" report
  11. Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on the demise of Mr. Zhao Ziyang, former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
  12. Questions concerning East China Sea
  13. Follow-up questions concerning upcoming visit to Japan by Prime Minister Somare of Papua New Guinea

  1. Visit by Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura to the Russian Federation, the Palestinian Autonomous Areas and Israel

    Assistant Press Secretary Akira Chiba: Good afternoon and thank you very much for coming to the briefing. As you are aware, most of the political leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is away from Tokyo at the moment.

    Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura is rounding off his week-long visit to the Russian Federation, the Palestinian Autonomous Areas and Israel and is leaving Tel Aviv today for Japan.

    Related Information (Mr. Nobutaka Machimura, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to Visit Russia, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories)
  2. Visit by Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Ichiro Aisawa to Turkmenistan

    Mr. Chiba: Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Ichiro Aisawa visited Turkmenistan on 17 and 18 January to celebrate the opening of the Japanese Embassy in Ashgabat. He also met His Excellency President Saparmurad Niyazov and Deputy Prime Minister Yolly Gurbanmuradov of Turkmenistan to reaffirm further efforts to strengthen bilateral relations.

    Related Information (Visit to Turkmenistan by Mr. Ichiro Aisawa, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs)
  3. United Nations (UN) World Conference on Disaster Reduction

    Mr. Chiba: Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Shuzen Tanigawa, as you know, is in Kobe to attend the United Nations (UN) World Conference on Disaster Reduction. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will give an inaugural statement around 15:00 today, in which he will launch the Initiative for Disaster Reduction Cooperation. I touched upon this briefly at the last press conference so I will not go into detail, but please refer to the handout I distributed for you today.

    Related Information (World Conference on Disaster Reduction)
  4. Assistance for the Republic of Indonesia, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives

    Mr. Chiba: Japan also exchanged notes with the Republic of Indonesia, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives to provide approximately US$250 million in total to the Governments of these disaster-hit countries. This will be used to procure goods and services urgently needed in the areas.

    Related Information (Major Earthquake off the Coast of Sumatra and Tsunami in the Indian Ocean)
  5. Dispatch of third Japan Disaster Relief Medical Team to Indonesia

    Mr. Chiba: Japan will further dispatch a third Japan Disaster Relief Medical Team composed of about 20 personnel specializing in public hygiene and infectious diseases to Indonesia. The first team was flown in as early as 29 December, followed by the second one from 7 to 21 January. A Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) medical team of about 20 personnel has also entered Banda Aceh on 16 January to undertake research of the situation.

    Related Information (Dispatch of a Third 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. Visits by Parliamentary Secretaries for Foreign Affairs Mr. Itsunori Onodera and Mr. Keishiro Fukushima to Africa and Southeast Asia

    Mr. Chiba: Parliamentary Secretaries for Foreign Affairs Mr. Itsunori Onodera and Mr. Keishiro Fukushima are in Africa and Southeast Asia respectively. Mr. Onodera is visiting the Republic of Senegal, the Gabonese Republic and the Republic of Cameroon, while Mr. Fukushima is visiting the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

    Related Information (Japan-Africa Relations)
    Related Information (Japan-Asia Relations)
  7. Dispatch of a Special Envoy for the inauguration ceremony of the President of Ukraine

    Mr. Chiba: Other visits by dignitaries include the dispatch of Mr. Hakuo Yanagisawa, Member of the House of Representatives and former Cabinet minister, as a special envoy to Ukraine to attend the presidential inauguration ceremony for Mr. Viktor Yushchenko.

    Related Information (Dispatch of a Special Envoy for the Inauguration Ceremony of the President of Ukraine)
  8. Upcoming visit to Japan by the Rt. Hon. Sir Michael Thomas Somare, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and Lady Veronica Somare

    Mr. Chiba: There will be a visit to Japan by the Right Honorable Sir Michael Thomas Somare, Prime Minister of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea and Lady Veronica, which will take place from 12 to 18 February. The couple will be received in audience by Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan. Prime Minister Somare, who is very knowledgeable about Japan, will also meet his counterpart Prime Minister Koizumi during his stay.

    Related Information (Visit to Japan of The Rt. Hon. Sir Michael Thomas Somare, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and Lady Veronica Somare)
  9. Upcoming panel discussion on role of localities

    Mr. Chiba: I would also like to introduce to you an interesting panel discussion which will be held in Tokyo on 20 January to discuss about the role of localities as main actors of international exchange. This will be the first of a series of such events and will be attended by five panelists, including Ms. Jeanie Fuji, a San Franciscan who is running a hot spa inn in Yamagata Prefecture.

    Related Information (Panel Discussion: Talking about International Exchange with the Foreign Ministry)
  10. Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura on a "Millennium Project" report

    Mr. Chiba: Finally, I would like to make two announcements. The first announcement concerns a statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura on a "Millennium Project" report.

    Mr. Nobutaka Machimura, Minister for Foreign Affairs, made the following statement on the report of the "Millennium Project": "Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)" on 17 January.

    On 17 January (local time), the "Millennium Project" delivered its report to Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in New York. To achieve the MDGs, the report suggests mobilization of a wide range of development resources, not restricted to increased official development assistance (ODA) but including also private and domestic resources, field-based assistance, expansion of the donor base into middle-income countries, infrastructure for poverty reduction and differentiated support according to country- and regional-level needs. The Government of Japan values the fact that these aspects follow the same line of thinking as Japan's development assistance. Nevertheless, the Government of Japan is convinced that to meet the MDGs, it is necessary to learn from the experience of economic development in East Asia which shows that economic growth is essential for poverty reduction and that this point of view should be better reflected.

    Following both this report and that of "The High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change," the Secretary-General will submit a report in March. The Government of Japan expects that the substance of his report will motivate the deepening of discussions in preparation for the summit meeting on the Millennium Declaration in September 2005 and is resolved to make full efforts to this end.

    Related Information (Statement by Mr. Nobutaka Machimura, Minister for Foreign Affairs, on a "Millennium Project" Report)
  11. Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on the demise of Mr. Zhao Ziyang, former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China

    Mr. Chiba: The final statement is this: Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the demise of Mr. Zhao Ziyang, former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.

    The Government of Japan expresses deep sympathy on the demise of Mr. Zhao Ziyang, who contributed to the development of relations between Japan and China during his terms as premier and general secretary, and offers heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family.

    Mr. Zhao Ziyang made an official visit to Japan in 1982 during his tenure as premier.

    Related Information (Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the Demise of Mr. Zhao Ziyang, Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China)
  12. Questions concerning East China Sea

    Q: It was reported this week that the Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd. and the Teikoku Oil Co., Ltd. are to begin drilling for natural gas in the East China Sea, close to an area which is also claimed by the People's Republic of China. I know this is principally an issue that concerns the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, but is the Foreign Ministry in any way involved in trying to smooth the negotiations on this project given that there are possible diplomatic connotations? Is the Foreign Ministry at all involved in any efforts to make sure that there is no friction between the two sides when this drilling takes place?

    Mr. Chiba: I am aware of the news report. However, so far, I have not seen any concrete plans concerning this matter.

    Q: So the Foreign Ministry is not involved in any particular initiative at this stage to ensure that the friction does not rise over this matter?

    Mr. Chiba: As I have said, I do not know any concrete plans concerning this matter.

    Q: Is there a formal dispute registered between Japan and China on these areas of the Sea? What is the actual diplomatic position with regard to this dispute? Has it been registered as a dispute in any way?

    Mr. Chiba: There is a difference as to where to delineate the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the two countries. As to this particular report, I am not sure where it is going to cover but certainly the Chinese side claims that it has an EEZ that extends all the way up to the Okinawa archipelago as opposed to Japan which maintains that a median line should be drawn somewhere in between. This is a discussion that has been going on between the two countries.

    Q: Are there any meetings planned at the high official level to discuss this issue?

    Mr. Chiba: Not that I know of at this moment.

    Related Information (Japan-China Relations)
  13. Follow-up questions concerning upcoming visit to Japan by Prime Minister Somare of Papua New Guinea

    Q: Why is Prime Minister Somare of Papua New Guinea coming to Japan?

    Mr. Chiba: He is going to pay an official visit to Japan.

    Q: It is not related to mineral extraction or anything like that?

    Mr. Chiba: The two countries are enjoying a very good bilateral relationship, and this visit of course is to strengthen the ties between the two countries. During his stay, he will discuss bilateral issues and matters of mutual concern with his counterpart in Japan.

    Q: Who else will Prime Minister Somare be meeting apart from Prime Minister Koizumi?

    Mr. Chiba: Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress. At the moment, these are the only meetings that have been finalized. Since his stay is going to be a rather long one as I announced, we are still arranging his itinerary.

    Q: Companies?

    Mr. Chiba: I am not sure at this stage.

    Related Information (Visit to Japan of The Rt. Hon. Sir Michael Thomas Somare, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and Lady Veronica Somare)

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