Press Conference, 11 March 2008
- Visit by Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Osamu Uno to the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Republic of Tunisia
- The fourth round of the negotiation on the Trilateral Investment Agreement among Japan, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea
- Japan-Cambodia Workshop on enforcement of the Chemical Weapons Convention
- Visit to Japan by the Rt Hon Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
- Announcements on Japan's Official Development Assistance
- Questions concerning the Islamic Republic of Iran
- Questions concerning the Government of Japan's position on nuclear weapons
- Follow-up questions concerning the Islamic Republic of Iran
I. Visit by Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Osamu Uno to the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Republic of Tunisia
Deputy Press Secretary Tomohiko Taniguchi: Good afternoon and thanks very much for coming.
At this season of the year you normally see more announcements of Japan's overseas assistance than usual, and I will touch on them later.
But to begin with, let me say that Vice Minister Osamu Uno is now visiting (the Republic of) Tunisia. Before that he stayed for three days between Friday, 7th of March, and Sunday the 9th, in (the Arab Republic of) Egypt. That was for Mr. Uno to join the opening ceremony of a series of events called "the Japan-Egypt Year of Science and Technology 2008." I know the Egyptian Government is hosting the events as there seems to be growing interests in what Japan has achieved in the field of science and technology.
II. The fourth round of the negotiation on the Trilateral Investment Agreement among Japan, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea
Mr. Taniguchi: Second, from tomorrow, Wednesday, the 12th until Thursday, the 13th, Japan, (the People's Republic of) China, and (the Republic of) Korea will hold the fourth round of the negotiations on the investment agreement and the tenth meeting of the trilateral consultations. The latter, the tenth one, is on the possible legal framework on investment that will bind the three nations. The meeting will also discuss how to improve business environment so that they will have more investment to and fro each other. The two day meeting will take place in Tokyo.
Mr. Taniguchi: Third, starting today, Tuesday, the 11th, for three days until Thursday, the 13th, Japan and (the Kingdom of) Cambodia, together with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), host a workshop in Phnom Penh. They will look into the way in which the Chemical Weapons Convention is to be domestically fully enforced.
Mr. Taniguchi: Fourth, the Rt Hon Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, will visit Japan from Friday, the 14th to Monday, the 17th. A meeting with Prime Minister Fukuda is scheduled. In addition to that he will be participating in the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development. You know that's his signature project.
Mr. Taniguchi: Fifth and last, let me tell you that a number of announcements are coming out lately on Japan's overseas assistance. If I may scan those projects briefly, they are: loaning up to 185.575 billion yen to (the Republic of) India; a non project grant aid of 1.5 billion yen to (the Hashemite Kingdom of) Jordan; a grant aid of 1.492 billion yen through UNESCO for the enhancement of literacy in (the Islamic State of) Afghanistan; plus a dozen or so others geared toward African nations and countries such as (the Republic of) Iraq, (the Republic of) Azerbaijan, and (the Democratic Socialist Republic of) Sri Lanka.
Q: What is Japan's position on the Security Council's third sanction draft resolution toward Iran?
Mr. Taniguchi: There has been a concern shared by the international community about the dubious areas that still remain in (the Islamic Republic of) Iran's nuclear development. That view has also been shared, also by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). According to the IAEA's inspections, there are more stones still to be turned in order for them to get confidence about what actually is happening in Iran. The Japanese Government is fully supportive of the resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council.
Q: Would Japan have sanctions as well, follow the sanctions that have been asked for?
Mr. Taniguchi: The Japanese Government has been faithful to the regime of the United Nations and so it will comply with the resolution.
Q: What is Japan's position about having nuclear weapons? It was debated, I believe, in the Koizumi and Abe eras.
Mr. Taniguchi: You mean Japan going nuclear? I see. There is no possibility whatsoever for Japan to go nuclear. I can cite a number of reasons, but the shortest and the easiest answer for me to give you is to just look at Tokyo, which has amassed such a huge amount of wealth of the second largest economy, with its Imperial Palace at the core, at the very center of Tokyo. Tokyo, perhaps, is arguably one of the most vulnerable cities to attacks of a nuclear sort. If you go nuclear, you have to also subscribe to theories such as Mutual Assured Destruction. That would not apply in any way to cities such as Tokyo, for the reason I have just cited. So that is one reason and there are many, many more reasons that I should cite if I had time that Japan is not interested whatsoever in going nuclear. You may recall that the Japan-US alliance has been a very much effective, and will continue to be the most effective, security seal, for Japan's wellbeing.
Q: A security umbrella?
Mr. Taniguchi: Yes.
Q: Japan is very reliant on Iranian oil, though, is it not?
Mr. Taniguchi: Not really. I cannot give you the exact figure. (The Islamic Republic of) Iran is certainly one of the most important sources for oil, but Japan is not as dependent as you might imagine on a single source, like Iran.
Q: Where does Japan get most of its oil?
Mr. Taniguchi: Percentage wise, you mean? I cannot tell you exactly. But (The Kingdom of) Saudi Arabia is the biggest exporter of oil to Japan.
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