Press Conference 17 May 2005

  1. Talks between Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority
  2. Situation in the Republic of Uzbekistan
  3. Second election management training for the independent electoral commission of Iraq
  4. Question concerning Japan-Palestinian Authority ministerial meeting
  5. Question concerning situation in Uzbekistan
  6. Question concerning situation in the Kingdom of Nepal
  7. Question concerning Mr. Akihiko Saito

  1. Talks between Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority

    Press Secretary Hatsuhisa Takashima: Good afternoon. Today, I would like to make a few announcements before I take questions.

    First, today, we had the honor of receiving the visit of President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He met with Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura this morning. During the course of the discussions, Foreign Minister Machimura reaffirmed the intention of the Government of Japan to provide assistance of US$100 million to the Palestinian Authority for the current fiscal year which started from April this year and will end in the end of March next year.

    In order to have a detailed plan of this Japanese assistance to the Palestinian Authority, both sides agreed to hold a ministerial meeting between the Japanese and Palestinian foreign ministers sometime in the summer or autumn of this year. That is one of the decisions they made.

    Also, President Abbas expressed his interest in attending the three-party meeting if it is held between the Palestinians, Israelis and Japanese and if it is so agreed by the three parties. The Japanese side also expressed interest in holding that sort of thing, but it is simply up to the intention of the three parties concerned.

    For your information, we are expecting the visit of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of the State of Israel to Japan sometime in the latter part of this month or in June. The Japanese side expressed strong intention to continue its support for Palestine's economic development and also the strengthening of its government system, by providing direct economic assistance to Palestine for the first time in recent years, and also some assistance to strengthen the function of the presidential office of Palestine.

    My understanding is that President Abbas, after attending the press conference at the Japan Press Club, left Japan or is about to leave Japan for the next destination in his itinerary.

    Related Information (Japan-Palestinian Authorities Relations)

  2. Situation in the Republic of Uzbekistan

    Mr. Takashima: The next announcement is about the situation in the Republic of Uzbekistan.

    Deputy Director-General of the European Affairs Bureau Kenji Shinoda of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs met with Uzbekistan Ambassador to Japan Mirsobit Ochilov yesterday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At this meeting, Deputy Director-General Shinoda conveyed the following message:

    The Government of Japan is closely observing the development of the current situation in the Republic of Uzbekistan with concern. The Government of Japan strongly hopes that all the parties concerned will refrain from using violence and the situation will be peacefully settled.

    The Government of Japan thinks it is extremely regrettable if the report of many casualties among the citizens is proven to be true.

    The Government of Japan hopes that the Republic of Uzbekistan will continue to enhance its endeavors towards democratization and transition to the market economy.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  3. Second election management training for the independent electoral commission of Iraq

    Mr. Takashima: The last announcement is about the training for the Iraqi electoral commission.

    The Government of Japan will conduct, from 17 to 25 May, election management training for 14 personnel in total who belong to the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq headquarters in Baghdad and its branch offices in the Governorates of Al-Muthanna, An-Najaf and Dahuk.

    Because it is important to implement in a fair and smooth manner a series of elections including a national referendum on the Constitution slated for October and a national assembly election scheduled for the end of this year, this election administration training is intended for managerial staff of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq headquarters in Baghdad and its local branch offices.

    The trainees, election administration managers and workers, will try to acquire basic knowledge of election management and improve their election administration skills through lectures on the election system, electoral fund management and election monitoring as well as observation of election campaigns and actual voting.

    The training will be implemented as part of the training programs of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

    Related Information (Press Release)

  4. Question concerning Japan-Palestinian Authority ministerial meeting

    Q: Could you tell us something about the timing of the first round of the planned Japan-Palestinian Authority ministerial meeting? Will it be closely linked to the planned Israeli withdrawal?

    Mr. Takashima: There have been reports about a possible postponement of the election in that area. Therefore, we thought it would be better to have this ministerial meeting sometime after the election, which may fall into the latter part of the summer or sometime in autumn. The date has not been set. There has been a kind of basic understanding or agreement between the two governments.

    Related Information (Japan-Palestinian Authorities Relations)

  5. Question concerning situation in Uzbekistan

    Q: Does the Japanese Government have any intention to send monitors or observers to Uzbekistan?

    Mr. Takashima: There is no plan as such since we have an Embassy in the capital city of Uzbekistan.

    Related Information (Japan-Uzbekistan Relations)

  6. Question concerning situation in the Kingdom of Nepal

    Q: Would you like to comment on the recent political development of the Kingdom of Nepal?

    Mr. Takashima: As for the Nepali situation, the Government of Japan has been expressing on various occasions that we would like to see the situation be stabilized on the basis of democracy and constitutional monarchy. We hope that there would be no violence which would cause any sort of casualties among the people of Nepal, and that the conflict between the Maoist insurgents and the Government be ceased and settled through diplomatic efforts of the two parties.

    Related Information (Japan-Nepal Relations)

  7. Question concerning Mr. Akihiko Saito

    Q: Could you brief us on the latest situation of Japan's effort to track down the whereabouts of the missing Japanese, Mr. Akihiko Saito, in Iraq?

    Mr. Takashima: A Japanese citizen, Mr. Akihiko Saito, has been missing for about a week in Iraq. He went missing after there was an attack against the convoy he was in. We have been trying to find out where he is and how his condition is, but unfortunately, there has been no solid information which would tell us whether he is still alive or about his whereabouts. We are making further efforts on that. There has been no contact from the insurgent side, including the predicted uploading of the picture of Mr. Saito on its website.

    Related Information (The Issue of Iraq)


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