Press Conference, 16 March 2007
- Announcements available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website
- Visit to Japan by Vice President Tariq Al-Hashimi of the Republic of Iraq
- Seminar for Iraqi National Reconciliation
- Japan-Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)
- Questions concerning the visit to Japan by Premier Wen Jiabao the People's Republic of China
- Question concerning the visit by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the United States (US)
Deputy Press Secretary Tomohiko Taniguchi: Good afternoon. Please may I remind you as usual that over the last couple of days there have been new entries on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website about such information as the one on the startup meeting for the Four-Party Consultative Unit for the concept of the "Corridor of Peace and Prosperity," that is about the Middle East peace process.
Another is on the courtesy call made by Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Cho Jung-pyo of the Republic of Korea (ROK), paid to Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Aso.
And there is another one on a preparatory meeting for negotiations on the Japan-Switzerland Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
Please may I suggest that you come and look at those on the website.
Mr. Taniguchi: In addition to those, I have only two points to make for my opening statement.
The first one is on the visit of Vice President Tariq Al-Hashimi of the Republic of Iraq, who is going to come to Japan on Wednesday, 21 March, for four days until Saturday 24 March. Mr. Hashimi is going to meet a number of leaders here in Japan.
Mr. Taniguchi: Closely related to this, his visit is going to be followed by a team of Iraqi people coming to Japan on Sunday 25 March and scheduled to leave on Saturday 31 March. The team is going to join what is called a Seminar for Iraqi National Reconciliation. I think this is a very important action on the part of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help promote national reconciliation which is crucial under the current situation in Iraq.
Let me say a few words about the seminar. The seminar is going to be held for a week, from 25 March until 31 March. The number of participants is 15, headed by Iraqi Minister of State for National Dialogue Affairs Akram al-Hakim. The 15-member delegation comprises two representatives of a Shia party called Iraqia, three representatives of a Sunni party called the Tawafiq Party, two representing Kurdish people, two independents, one Turkmen, and five from Government and quasi-government organizations. They are supposed to undergo an intensive set of discussions about reconciliation, which is going to be given by a number of Japanese experts who have in-depth knowledge about what happened in places like Aceh, or the experiences of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of the Republic of South Africa.
The group is going to make a tour to Hiroshima to go through the site of the nuclear bomb, have a view of the Peace Memorial Park, and they are going to pay a courtesy call to Foreign Minister Aso.
That is about the two visits from Iraq, and this is all part of Japan's effort to help promote peace and stability in Iraq.
Mr. Taniguchi: The only other point I wanted to make is about the Japan-Singapore EPA. We are going to have a protocol amending the agreement between Japan and the Republic of Singapore, the New Age Economic Partnership is what it is called, and also we are going to have a protocol amending the implementing agreement between the two nations. It is going to even further open the markets of both nations, so this is promising to help further advance the already good trade relationship between the two nations.
Any questions, please.
Q: This is on a different topic. Soon Premier Wen Jiabao the People's Republic of China will be coming to Japan. Is the schedule starting to firm up at all?
Mr. Taniguchi: Once it has been confirmed I think I will be able to let you know, but right now we do not know exactly what month, day, etc.
Q: I see. About when would you expect it?
Mr. Taniguchi: I'm afraid I am yet to be able to let you know.
Q: Next, about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's trip to the US, will he be meeting with anyone from the Democratic Party? You do not have to be specific, but will he be meeting with anyone not from the Government?
Mr. Taniguchi: I really do not know enough at this point.
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