Press Conference 1 April 2005

  1. Recent earthquake in Republic of Indonesia
  2. Number of Japanese expatriates
  3. Japanese yen loans for FY2004
  4. United Nations (UN) Dialogue with the Global South, Regional Dynamics of Human Security
  5. Seminar on Democracy and Good Governance
  6. Visit to Japan by foreign dignitaries for the 2005 World Exposition
  7. Follow-up question concerning number of Japanese expatriates
  8. Questions concerning views of the People's Republic of China on UN reform
  9. Follow-up question concerning seminar for Palestinian Authority
  10. Questions concerning possible visits to Japan by leaders of the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel
  11. Question concerning issue of Japanese history
  12. Question concerning comments made by ROK Ambassador to the UN Kim Sam-hoon
  13. Question concerning situation in Iraq
  14. Questions concerning Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF)
  15. Questions concerning "war against terrorism"
  16. Question concerning possible piracy incident in the Malacca Strait
  17. Question concerning nomination of Mr. Paul Wolfowitz as the President of the World Bank

  1. Recent earthquake in Republic of Indonesia

    Press Secretary Hatsuhisa Takashima: Good afternoon and thank you very much for coming to the briefing. Today, I would like to make several announcements before I take questions.

    First, on the earthquake which occurred on 29 March in the Republic of Indonesia, the Japan Disaster Relief medical team has already arrived to the Island of Nias yesterday, and they will be reinforced by ten more people, mostly Embassy staff and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) staff. Japanese emergency assistance of equipment and other necessary things will be transported to the Island of Nias by helicopter starting today.

    As I have said the day before yesterday, the Government of Japan is prepared to give further assistance if it is so requested by the Indonesian Government.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  2. Number of Japanese expatriates

    Mr. Takashima: The second announcement is about the number of expatriates living abroad.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs today announced the number of Japanese expatriates, those who have been abroad as a permanent resident or staying in foreign countries for more than three months as of 1 October 2004. The number is 961,307, which is the largest in history. Compared to the year before, that is, the year 2003, it is an increase of 5.5% or 50,245. The largest number of expatriates lives in the United States of America (U.S.), which is followed by the People's Republic of China and the Federative Republic of Brazil. The increase of Japanese living in China has shown a remarkable increase, that is, 28.5% compared to the previous year.

    By city, New York has the largest Japanese population, which is followed by Los Angeles and Shanghai.

  3. Japanese yen loans for FY2004

    Mr. Takashima: The third announcement is about the total amount of Japanese yen loans for FY2004.

    As you know, 1 April marks the beginning of the new fiscal year in this country. On the occasion of the closing of FY2004, the Government of Japan yesterday announced that during FY2004, the Government of Japan decided to provide yen loans in total of 654.5 billion yen or US$6.1 billion at today's exchange rate to 15 countries. The largest recipient is the Republic of India, followed by Indonesia, the Republic of Turkey, and China is number four. Last year, Ukraine was, for the first time, a recipient country of Japanese yen loans.

    Compared to FY2003, the total amount of Japanese yen loans to those nations has shown an increase of 17.4% which marks the end of steady decline of yen loans for the past several years due to the financial difficulties of Japan.

    Related Information (Terms and Conditions of Yen Loans)

  4. United Nations (UN) Dialogue with the Global South, Regional Dynamics of Human Security

    Mr. Takashima: The next announcement is about the holding of the United Nations (UN) Dialogue with the Global South, Regional Dynamics of Human Security.

    The Government of Japan and the UN decided to extend a total of US$115,000 for the financing of the project called UN Dialogue with the Global South, Regional Dynamics of Human Security to be implemented jointly by the UN and its agencies in China, Arab Republic of Egypt, India, United Mexican States, Republic of South Africa and New York.

    This project aims at exploring the concept of human security from different regional contexts, identifying similarities and differences in priorities and highlighting local and national success stories in its promotion. The project is expected to contribute to discussions related to the High-Level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Declaration in September 2005 and the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.

    Through the implementation of this project, international understanding of the concept of human security that Japan has been promoting is expected to be deepened and the concept will be shared universally in the international society.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  5. Seminar on Democracy and Good Governance

    Mr. Takashima: The next announcement is about the Seminar on Democracy and Good Governance for the Palestinian Authority.

    The Government of Japan will hold a Seminar on Democracy and Good Governance from 5 to 18 April in Tokyo as part of Japan's assistance for the reform efforts of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority. This seminar will be participated by six members of the Legislative Council of Palestine and will include a session on the Japanese experience of post-World War II (WWII) recovery, its economic development and democratization.

    Related Information (Japan-Palestinian Authorities Relations)

  6. Visit to Japan by foreign dignitaries for the 2005 World Exposition

    Mr. Takashima: The next announcement is about the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan.

    The Government of Japan is pleased to welcome four foreign dignitaries who will visit Japan for the period 2-8 to attend the national day ceremonies at the 2005 World Exposition: For the National Day event of Canada on 5 April, Minister of State (Multiculturalism) Raymond Cheuk Yu Chan of Canada; for the National Day event of the Kingdom of Sweden on 6 April, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria Ingrid Alice Désirée of the Kingdom of Sweden; for the National Day event of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya on 7 April, President of Gaddafi International Foundation for Charity Association SAIF EL-ISLAM MUAMMAR AL QUDHAFI; and for the National Day event of the Republic of Senegal on 8 April, Minister of Environment and Natural Protection Modou Fada DIAGNE of Senegal.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  7. Follow-up question concerning number of Japanese expatriates

    Q: Just to follow-up on your announcement about the number of Japanese abroad. First, does that include the Japanese Embassy staff and officials dispatched abroad? Secondly, do you have more details, such as a breakdown of the countries?

    Mr. Takashima: I will give you the breakdown later. This includes all Japanese residents living abroad for three months or more, including Embassy staff.

  8. Questions concerning views of the People's Republic of China on UN reform

    Q: Recently, millions of Chinese citizens have signed a petition online basically opposing Japan becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council. The Chinese government has also yet to support Japan's bid to become a permanent member of the Security Council. They are basically demanding Japanese leaders to take a so-called responsible view on history issues. What is the Japanese Government's response to that kind of sentiment of not only the Chinese Government but also the Chinese people?

    Mr. Takashima: We understand that the Chinese Government has the same view as ours which is that the UN needs reform. In order to realize this reform, this year is a very important year because the proposals are already on the table and all member countries are now studying the report made by the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change as well as the UN Millennium Project led by Director Jeffery Sachs and by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan himself.

    The Chinese Government's attitude toward Japan's candidature for the permanent seat on the Security Council is not known yet, but we hope that we will be able to obtain the understanding of the Chinese Government on the reason why we are seeking a permanent seat on the Security Council.

    On the petition, yes, we are aware of that, and we are aware that there is a certain movement going on in the country. At the same time, there are many conflicting reports about the nature and actual content of this online petition so we will just keep an eye on this development. Basically, UN reform is to be handled by the Government, and we will be discussing and talking with the Chinese Government on the necessity of UN reform and also Japanese candidature for a permanent seat.

    Q: Is Japan going to take any actions demanded by the Chinese people as well as other people in Asia regarding its posture on the issue of history?

    Mr. Takashima: Aside from this online petition thing, the Government of Japan is determined to have closer relations with China, not only with the Government but on a people-to-people level.

    Recently, an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who is in charge of cultural exchange visited China and had a very extensive dialogue with his Chinese counterpart. This kind of cultural exchanges as well as people-to-people exchanges will help improve the mutual understanding between the Japanese and Chinese people. We are determined to promote this kind of activities in various forms in China as well as in Japan.

    Q: There are other concerns regarding territorial issues with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and there are some other issues also with China. Do you see any kind of a change in sentiment in neighboring countries?

    Mr. Takashima: There are various issues being discussed between Japan and China or Japan and the ROK, but those are the things now being handled on a case-by-case basis with the other countries. That does not mean that there is any sort of a sudden change in the situation or sudden increase in the number of issues. Our understanding is that those issues require constant consultations with the countries concerned.

    So far as the history issue is concerned, the Government of Japan's position is well-known in the whole world through former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama's statement on the history issue which was issued in the year 1995 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII and on other occasions. Our position is unchanged, and we will make further efforts so that other people will understand more about the Japanese position.

    Related Information (Japan's Position on the United Nations Reform)

  9. Follow-up question concerning seminar for Palestinian Authority

    Q: On the seminar for Palestinians, do you have more details about the participants?

    Mr. Takashima: As I have said, the participants will be the six members of the Legislative Council of the Palestinian Authority. This seminar is part of the training course which is organized by JICA. As I have said, this will be an occasion for the Palestinian legislators to know more about the Japanese experience of post-war recovery, democratization, and how the people of Japan were able to achieve very successful economic development.

    Related Information (Japan-Palestinian Authorities Relations)

  10. Questions concerning possible visits to Japan by leaders of the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel

    Q: Is there any update on the invitations to the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel?

    Mr. Takashima: Invitations have been extended, and we are hopeful that those invitations will be accepted in a positive manner. We hope that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority will come in May or June and others will come earlier.

    Q: At the same time?

    Mr. Takashima: Not necessarily.

    Q: There is a report that there might be a possible summit meeting. Is that true?

    Mr. Takashima: We do not think that that would be the case, but we would be very happy to welcome those leaders from both Israel and Palestine.

    Related Information (Japan-Palestinian Authorities Relations)
    Related Information (Japan-Israel Relations)

  11. Question concerning issue of Japanese history

    Q: You mentioned about former Prime Minister Murayama's apology. Yet over and over, this issue comes up not only in Asia but also in other parts of the world. Why do you think this issue will never be understood by the international community and comes back again and again?

    Mr. Takashima: Actually, that is something that we would like to understand as well. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII, and this year could be one of the occasions on which people think about the past history of this region. That might be one of the reasons why this issue comes up so frequently nowadays.

    At the same time, there are some pending issues between Japan and neighboring countries. These issues cannot be solved single-handedly or instantly, but it requires our understanding as well as constant efforts by the Japanese Government and the Japanese people, and thorough negotiations and dialogue to promote mutual understanding.

  12. Question concerning comments made by ROK Ambassador to the UN Kim Sam-hoon

    Q: It has been reported that ROK Ambassador to the UN Kim Sam-hoon announced the ROK's opposition to Japan's candidacy for a permanent seat on the Security Council. What is the position of the Government of Japan?

    Mr. Takashima: We are aware of that report. However, we do not know the details of Ambassador Kim's statement or occasion of the statement. Therefore, I cannot make direct comments on this report. However, I will say that the ROK Government has been advocating the expansion of non-permanent members only, for the Security Council. At the same time, it has not stated its position on the candidacy of specific nations including Japan in the past.

    The Government of Japan will make further efforts to obtain the understanding of the governments of neighboring nations including the ROK regarding Japan's candidacy for the permanent seat on the Security Council and the necessity of UN reform. We will continue to have dialogues and consultations with the ROK on this matter at every occasion available to us.

    Related Information (Japan-ROK Relations)

  13. Question concerning situation in Iraq

    Q: How do you evaluate the situation in Iraq in terms of the continuance of clashes, violence, death and destruction. Are you satisfied that this is the result of the war that was launched by the US and supported by Japan? Do you feel that you are satisfied with this result?

    Mr. Takashima: We expected that it would take awhile before we see the actual formation of the cabinet and the structure of the government after the very successful 30 January election. We do hope that this political process, especially the formation of the government, will be carried out as quickly as possible. So we do hope that those who are involved on the Iraqi side in this process will make further efforts to finalize the formation.

    Since this year is the year of politics for the Iraqis, this formation of the government is the first step toward that important process. We hope that this will be done as expeditiously as possible.

    Related Information (The Issue of Iraq)

  14. Questions concerning Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF)

    Q: What about the Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and their activities? Do you have any briefing about what they have been doing recently? Have there been any attacks by mortars or something like that?

    Mr. Takashima: Despite the fact that the responsibility for maintaining the security of the Samawah and Al-Muthanna areas was transferred from Dutch troops to British troops, the general situation has not been changed. That is our understanding.

    The activities of the SDF in the Samawah area has been continuing as they had been done in previous months. There have been no reports of any threat or attack from anybody to the members of the Japanese SDF. They are doing their work of humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.

    Q: Also the SDF that are helping with the airlifting. Is it also going on?

    Mr. Takashima: Yes, C130s are flying, and naval vessels of the Maritime Self-Defense Forces (JMSDF) that supply fuel and water to the naval ships of various countries in the Indian Ocean for the war against terrorism are operating as scheduled and as usual.

  15. Questions concerning war against terrorism

    Q: You mentioned the war against terrorism. It seems like it is similar to the wars against crime or wars against robbery or wars against lying. It is like an endless thing related to human behavior. Many pundits or critics of the Arabic media consider it as a pretext to launch wars just for special purposes. What kind of achievements has Japan made so far by contributing these fuel and water to ships? What kind of achievements have you made for the so-called war against terrorism?

    Mr. Takashima: We have witnessed remarkable success of the presidential election in Afghanistan. There, a parliamentary election is now scheduled, and the general situation in the city of Kabul and its vicinity is becoming far more stabilized than before.

    As for the war against terrorism, the activities of the Taliban have decreased in various areas in Afghanistan and its vicinity.

    The Government of Japan understands that the war against terrorism so far has been successful in combating terrorist organizations such as the Taliban.

    Q: How long do you expect to be involved in this war? When there is a war, people like to know the timeframe. Does Japan take into consideration that this war might take forever?

    Mr. Takashima: The law which authorizes the dispatch of JMSDF vessels to the Indian Ocean will expire on November of this year. So before then, the Government of Japan has to consider whether or not it will rewrite or extend the law or mark the end of the dispatch of vessels. Until such time comes, there is one more extension that is possible. Other than that, I cannot predict anything for the coming months.

    Related Information (Counter Terrorism)

  16. Question concerning possible piracy incident in the Malacca Strait

    Q: I have a question about a report we just got about a case of piracy in the Malacca Strait which might involve Japanese crew members. Could you brief us about the latest situation?

    Mr. Takashima: I have no information other than what was reported by the press.

  17. Question concerning nomination of Mr. Paul Wolfowitz as the President of the World Bank

    Q: What is Japan's position on the nomination of former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz of the US to the head of the World Bank?

    Mr. Takashima: We support the nomination of Mr. Wolfowitz to the President of World Bank, and our support has been conveyed to President George W. Bush of the US by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi when he received a telephone call from President Bush.


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