Press Conference 14 June 2005

  1. Grant assistance for the Kingdom of Cambodia
  2. Grant assistance for Mongolia
  3. Presentation ceremony of medical equipment to Al-Samawah General Hospital
  4. Exhibition "Schools of Dream"
  5. Questions concerning Japan-Republic of Korea Summit Meeting
  6. Question concerning reform of the United Nations (UN)
  7. Question concerning debt relief
  8. Question concerning FY2006 budget

  1. Grant assistance for the Kingdom of Cambodia

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

    First, the Government of Japan decided to provide a grant assistance of 4.26 billion yen or approximately US$40.0 million to the Kingdom of Cambodia to finance six different projects including those for the rehabilitation of the irrigation system in that country, improvement of the National Road No.1, financing of the scholarship program for young leaders to have advanced studies at Japanese graduate schools, among others.

    Related Information (Japan-Cambodia Relations)

  2. Grant assistance for Mongolia

    Mr. Takashima: The second announcement is about another grant assistance. The Government of Japan decided to provide grant assistance of 470 million yen or US$4.3 million to Mongolia for the scholarship program for young government officials to have advanced studies at graduate schools in Japan.

    Related Information (Japan-Mongolia Relations)

  3. Presentation ceremony of medical equipment to Al-Samawah General Hospital

    Mr. Takashima: The next announcement is about the provision of medical equipments to Iraq.

    A ceremony to present the medical equipments from Japan to the Al-Samawah General Hospital in southern Iraq was held on 12 June. The equipments, which are worth approximately US$670,000, include the necessary kits for the treatment of retinitis and for giving therapeutic endoscopy to urologic patients. This medial assistance, together with the medical assistance provided by the Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF) medical team currently stationed in the Al-Muthanna area, is expected to give more synergy to upgrade the medical condition of that region.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  4. Exhibition "Schools of Dream"

    Mr. Takashima: The last announcement is about an art work exhibition.

    An exhibition entitled "Schools of Dream" of the works painted by elementary school children of 11 African nations and Japan will be held at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) House in Tokyo from 1 to 29 July. This exhibition is designed to enhance public awareness about Africa in Japan. Excellent works selected by the jury committee headed by former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori will be awarded.

  5. Questions concerning Japan-Republic of Korea Summit Meeting

    Q: There is a planned meeting between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and President Roh Moo Hyun of the Republic of Korea (ROK). What will be the main agenda at this meeting?

    Mr. Takashima: The meeting itself has not been officially announced yet, but we expect that the announcement will come very shortly. The meeting will focus on bilateral relations and international affairs which have a direct influence on both nations, especially the North Korean situation.

    On bilateral issues, Japan and the ROK have been discussing various issues including the Japanese Government's assistance for the people suffering from the after-effects of atomic bombs living in the ROK; the joint study of history between our two countries; and the search, recovery and return of the remains of the ROK people who were taken to Japan and had to work at various sites in Japan, among others.

    Q: I think this meeting will take place amidst a not so good bilateral relationship. How will the Ministry of Foreign Affairs try to improve the relationship through the bilateral summit?

    Mr. Takashima: The Governments of Japan and the ROK have already agreed to hold twice a year a summit meeting between the two leaders. Last year, there were two meetings: one in Jeju Island and one in Ibusuki City. This year, the first one is scheduled to be held in the ROK and the second one will hopefully be held in Japan. Through this kind of very frequent contact, we believe that the relations between Japan and the ROK would become more solidified and steady and that there will be a good neighborly spirit between our two countries. This is part of an ongoing process for having better and stronger relations between Japan and the ROK.

    Q: So we can hope that the schedule for the next meeting possibly in Japan will be decided during the meeting later this month?

    Mr. Takashima: I am not quite sure if a decision will be made on the actual date and venue, but I expect that there will be a confirmation to hold the second meeting of the year, scheduled for later this year in Japan.

    Q: Could you confirm some reports and information that Foreign Minister Machimura also plans to go to Seoul when Prime Minister Koizumi goes to Seoul to meet his counterpart?

    Mr. Takashima: Foreign Minister Machimura will accompany Prime Minister Koizumi. I am not quite sure if there will be a separate foreign ministers' meeting. In the case of the previous meeting in Ibusuki City last December, there was a foreign ministers' meeting apart from the summit meeting.

    Related Information (Japan-ROK Relations)

  6. Question concerning reform of the United Nations (UN)

    Q: I have one question about the ongoing efforts to reform the Security Council of the United Nations (UN). Does the Japanese Government expect that this issue will be one of the main topics during the coming Group of Eight (G8) Foreign Ministers' Meeting?

    Mr. Takashima: Of course there will be discussion on the so-called UN reform in general, but we do not know to what extent this issue would be picked up. The foreign ministers of Japan and the Federal Republic of Germany will be attending this meeting as official members of the G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting, and those two foreign ministers are deeply engaged in the efforts made by the Group of Four (G4) countries for the reform of the UN Security Council. We expect that there will be a thorough discussion on it.

    Related Information (United Nations Reform)

  7. Question concerning debt relief

    Q: My question is a follow-up to the question I asked you the other day regarding the proposal of the United Kingdom (UK). At the G8 Finance Ministers' Meeting, it was agreed that up to whatever the UK proposed debt is going to be written off by donor countries. My question is, what is the Japanese Government's reaction? I do not recall seeing any reaction in detail yet from the Japanese Government. Also, how will the Government of Japan pay its share of this initiative?

    Mr. Takashima: Minister of Finance Sadakazu Tanigaki attended that meeting, which means that Japan also cast an affirmative vote on this decision to write off the debt of the very poor African countries. Therefore, Japan is willing to do things which had been decided at the G8 Finance Ministers' Meeting. The Japanese Government has been writing off debt on a case-by-case basis so far. We have already provided debt relief to various African nations, and we believe that has been greatly appreciated by those who benefited from it and we will continue to do that. The decision was made at the G8 Finance Ministers Meeting, and this decision will be confirmed at the G8 Summit. We will certainly do what we have to do.

    Related Information (G8 Summit)

  8. Question concerning FY2006 budget

    Q: Depending on what will be decided at the G8 Summit, will the Japanese Government consider making a new budgetary allocation for next year's budget?

    Mr. Takashima: Actually, the formulation of next fiscal year's budget will start shortly, and certainly the issue of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) including the writing off of debt will be discussed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance. Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura and Prime Minister Koizumi both indicated that they would like to see an increase in Japan's ODA budget next fiscal year, and therefore, we would like to see that this will happen. We would also like to see that especially our assistance to Africa will certainly be increased in line with the policy which has already been announced by Prime Minister Koizumi, namely to double Japan's ODA to Africa in three years time.

    Related Information (Japan's ODA)


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