Press Conference, 6 July 2008
- Japan-US Summit Meeting
- Japan-Canada Summit Meeting
- Question concerning the world food crisis
- Question concerning the differences between the Japanese Government position and the Canadian Government position on concrete global targets to address climate change
- Question concerning the discussion by Prime Minister Fukuda and Prime Minister Harper on the Republic of Zimbabwe
- Question concerning energy security and oil prices
- Question concerning emission reduction targets
- Question concerning the Millennium Development Goals
- Question concerning the Republic of Zimbabwe
- The Financial Times article entitled "Japan Goes Missing"
- Question concerning the US economy
- Question concerning the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics
Press Secretary Kazuo Kodama: Good evening everybody. Thank you for coming to the very first press briefing held here at this International Media Center. Now I will give you a briefing on, first of all, the Japan-US Summit Meeting, followed by the Japan-Canada Summit Meeting, both of which took place today. Then after that I will be very happy to answer your questions on the schedule of the G8 Summit Outreach Meeting or any questions with respect to the discussions which will start from tomorrow.
Regarding the Japan-US bilateral Summit Meeting, Prime Minister Fukuda met with President Bush at the Windsor Hotel, which is the venue of this G8 Summit Meeting. The meeting started from 15:30 and lasted for about one hour and a half. After the meeting, the Prime Minister and Mrs. Fukuda hosted dinner in honor of President and Mrs. Bush, which started from 19:00. In the course of that private dinner I was told they have already celebrated the birthday of President Bush which happened today.
In the course of the meeting, they discussed the following issues: number one, the deepening of the Japan-US alliance; DPRK-related issues; the Asian situation; climate change; Africa and its development; collaboration in the area of prevention of disaster; and also international issues like Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
First, on the issue of deepening of the Japan-US alliance, Prime Minister Fukuda and President Bush shared the view that the Japan-US alliance is a cornerstone not only for Japan, but also for the peace and prosperity of the whole Asia-Pacific region. Prime Minister Fukuda also mentioned that since President Bush became president in 2001, the alliance has deepened greatly, especially in the area of security affairs, such as a collaboration agreement of the US Forces Realignment Roadmap being agreed upon, also joint development of ballistic missile defense, which has been progressing, including also a very successful experiment of an intercepting of a decoy missile by this ballistic missile defense system.
In the area of economic affairs, Prime Minister Fukuda mentioned that since 2000, Japanese investment in the US has increased by 30% while US investment into Japan has increased by 60%. In response, President Bush mentioned he entirely agreed with what Prime Minister Fukuda mentioned and all these developments are very much welcomed. President Bush expressed his wish that together with Prime Minister Fukuda they would like to further strengthen cooperation between Japan and the US.
Then they also briefly touched on the agreement which was reached when Prime Minister Fukuda visited Washington, D.C. in November last year. The agreement is to strengthen the bilateral exchanges in the areas of intellectual exchanges, grassroots exchanges, Japanese-language teaching programs, and so on. They agreed again that such deepening of exchanges between Japan and the US should be further enhanced.
Then on the DPRK, you might already have heard what President Bush and Prime Minister Fukuda said on the occasion of the Joint Press Conference. But in any case, I will give you what was discussed between the two on this issue of the DPRK. President Bush mentioned that he will not forget the issue of abduction. He also reiterated that the US position on firmly supporting Japan on the issue of abduction remains unchanged and Prime Minister Fukuda responded that with the efforts of the US, Japan has been able to get the declaration of nuclear programs by the DPRK, but what is most important is what is going to happen from now. We have to thoroughly verify the details of the declaration itself and in order to do so, we need to agree on the framework of verification itself, thereby we would be able to start the verification process itself.
Then Prime Minister Fukuda and President Bush shared the view that Japan and the US need to conduct the verification in a most thorough manner, thereby leading the verification activities to achieving our ultimate objective of abandoning all the nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs of the DPRK.
On the issue of Japan-DPRK bilateral relations, Prime Minister Fukuda mentioned that in the most recent Japan-DPRK talks, the DPRK expressed its commitment to reinvestigate the abduction issue. However, the situation remains at the level of "word for word," therefore, Japan feels very strongly that the stage must be elevated to the phase of "action for action." Prime Minister Fukuda, in this regard, requested that the US continued support to engage the DPRK to move forward on this issue. In response, President Bush mentioned that the US will continue to cooperate with Japan ever closer to find a prompt solution to the issue of abduction. They also shared the view that the issue of DPRK will continue to be difficult and also that we will enter into an important stage in dealing with the DPRK, including the issue of the denuclearization and the issue of abduction. On all these issues, Japan and the US must continue to cooperate with each other.
On China, Prime Minister Fukuda briefly mentioned that Japan-China relations have been improving steadily, including the recent agreement on the issue of East China Sea gas field development. In response, President Bush said he will very much welcome such continuing improvement of the bilateral relationship between Japan and China.
On Africa and development, I would first like to draw your attention to a fact sheet which has already been distributed to you for your reference. Indeed, this is a direct outcome of this Summit Meeting on Japan-US cooperation on African development. Prime Minister Fukuda mentioned that based on the outcome of the recent Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) he would like to promote closer Japan-US cooperation to support African development, and President Bush responded that he is delighted to do so. Then the two leaders agreed that in accordance with the Toyako Action Plan on International Health, which is to be agreed upon at this G8 Summit, the US and Japan will support such areas as, number one, the strengthening of the health systems; number two, the eradication of polio; number three, the measures to cure malaria; and number four, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). These are all explained on this fact sheet. Also, they agreed that the two governments will cooperate with each other in supporting the infrastructure development to improve both the production of major grains, including the doubling of rice production, and also to improve the market access for these grains in countries like Ghana, Senegal and Mali.
On the issue of disaster prevention and pandemic prevention, Prime Minister Fukuda and President Bush shared the view that based on the current situation in the Asia-Pacific region, it is very important for us to expand disaster prevention and pandemic prevention cooperation.
Then they went on to discuss briefly the issue of energy security, including the rise in crude oil prices. On the issue of the rising crude oil prices, Prime Minister Fukuda and President Bush shared the view that this issue should be discussed at this G8 Summit.
They also discussed the issue of climate change. They shared the view that they would continue to cooperate with each other when the G8 Summit discusses this issue, as well as the Major Economies Meeting (MEM) to be held also on 9 July, here in Toyako. On this, I will not go into details, but in any case, this issue is one of the most important agenda items to be discussed at the G8 Summit, as well as the MEM meeting, but I think the answer was given by both leaders when they talked to the media this afternoon after the Summit Meeting.
Then Prime Minister Fukuda and President Bush briefly discussed the Iran nuclear issue, the WTO Doha Round and so on. I think that is all about this bilateral talk.
I will go on to just briefly explain what was discussed at the Japan-Canada Summit Meeting and then I would be happy to answer any of your questions.
Mr. Kodama: Briefly, Prime Minister Fukuda met with Prime Minister Harper of Canada at the Windsor Hotel this evening from 18:05 for about 40 minutes. First, they discussed the bilateral relationship between Japan and Canada. Prime Minister Fukuda mentioned this year is a very special year for Japan-Canada relations because this year marks the 80th anniversary of the start of the relationship of trade and amity between our two countries, and he is happy to receive Canadian Prime Minister Harper in this very special year. Then Prime Minister Fukuda also mentioned that he is going to receive Prime Minister Harper in Tokyo on 10 July as an official guest of the Japanese Government, so he will look forward to meeting him again in Tokyo when they will have much longer discussions between the two. He also expressed his willingness to further strengthen Japan-Canada bilateral relations. In response, Prime Minister Harper mentioned that he is very happy to visit Hokkaido, which is very similar to the central part of Canada where there is beautiful forestry.
Then they discussed the G8 Summit. Prime Minister Fukuda mentioned this year's Summit is very important because the Summit will discuss quite a few global issues which are all interrelated. Also, because of that, all these interrelated issues require the G8 Summit leaders to reach a shared sense to tackle these issues together, or the sense of being on the same boat.
They also discussed briefly the issue of rising oil prices and how such issues will influence the issue of climate change.
Prime Minister Fukuda also referred to the recent TICAD IV meeting and he suggested that Japan and Canada will be able to cooperate further in the area of African development as well as peace-building. In response, Prime Minister Harper mentioned that he also believes that Canada and Japan certainly will be able to cooperate in all these fields.
Prime Minister Harper also expressed his concern with the ongoing Zimbabwe situation. In response, Prime Minister Fukuda also mentioned that he is strongly concerned with the current situation in Zimbabwe, which certainly requires a G8 response.
Finally, Prime Minister Harper introduced the Canadian Minister for International Cooperation Ms. Oda, who happens to be Japanese-Canadian and indeed, who happens to be the very first Japanese-Canadian Cabinet minister in Canada. He also mentioned that he is proud of the Japanese-Canadian community in Canada. In closing, this bilateral meeting was conducted in a most friendly atmosphere, thereby contributing to strengthening the relationship of trust between the two leaders. It is expected that when they join the discussion at the G8 Summit which starts from tomorrow it will be a very useful opportunity for them to cooperate further.
Q: Is it correct that the G8 and the process of the preparation for the G8 Summit agreed on a system or agreed on establishing a system for stockpiles of food in order to tackle the current food crisis and in order to stabilize food prices?
Mr. Kodama: My short answer is at this moment I can't really say yes or no, but since you asked this question regarding food security, let me give you the following briefing. At least as of now, please take what I am going to tell you will be possibly discussed. First, certainly we expect the G8 leaders will discuss the emergency responses. Now, in immediate response to the food shortage crisis, they will agree that further emergency food assistance should be enhanced.
Just for your information, the Government of Japan decided very recently, in this last week, on a new food aid package of 50 million US dollars to be implemented by October this year, in addition to 200 million US dollars of food aid implemented or announced this year. The G8 leaders are expected to call upon countries to refrain from instituting restrictions on agricultural exports. Maybe countries capable of releasing their food stocks are expected to do so to return some degree of equilibrium to the international food market, and again, in this regard, the Government of Japan has already announced that it would release over 300,000 tons of imported rice in the near future bearing in mind that countries like the Philippines are struggling to procure rice from the international rice market.
And now on medium- to long-term measures, biofuels production must be made sustainable by accelerating research on second-generation biofuels. Indeed, this was a point made by Prime Minister Fukuda when he attended the early June FAO Food Security Summit held in Rome. And also I am sure the leaders will agree that increased food production and agricultural productivity will be a key to respond to a medium-term food crisis.
Now they may also discuss the future shape of G8 coordination in dealing with food crises. This is really related to your original question. They may discuss that a G8 expert group will be established or they will start to consider maybe establishing such an expert group in order to enhance a comprehensive and coordinated approach, including short- to mid-term and long-term responses with developing countries and relevant international organizations. There is also an idea to establish a G8 Summit-led food reserve system, kind of a virtual food reserve system and of course it is up to our G8 leaders to decide on how this kind of idea will be explored further.
IV. Question concerning the differences between the Japanese Government position and the Canadian Government position on concrete global targets to address climate change
Q: Following the meeting between Prime Minister Fukuda and Prime Minister Harper, how would you characterize the Canadian position on climate change and what differences would you say there are between the Canadian and the Japanese position, especially as it relates to concrete global targets?
Mr. Kodama: To date, of course, we know that Canada declared that it would not be able to achieve the target under the Kyoto Protocol and of course Japan is committed to achieve its own reduction target under the Kyoto Protocol. It is a pity but we understand that the Canadian Prime Minister is here at this G8 Summit to help the G8, as a group, to advance the Heiligendamm consensus somehow to, by the end of next year, agree on the post-Kyoto Protocol framework. So certainly we consider Canada is a partner country for Japan to achieve this objective.
V. Question concerning the discussion by Prime Minister Fukuda and Prime Minister Harper on the Republic of Zimbabwe
Q: I gather that Prime Minister Fukuda and Prime Minister Harper talked about a strong statement on Zimbabwe. Can you characterize what they intend to ask for: sanctions at the Security Council, going beyond that? And confirming that this is a standalone statement that they are both looking for?
Mr. Kodama: Just about a week ago in Kyoto, there was the G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting; the date was 27 June 2008, and actually I was also there and the Canadian foreign minister was there, and Foreign Minister Koumura was there. Indeed, on that occasion, the G8 foreign ministers issued a joint standalone statement on Zimbabwe and this G8 Foreign Ministers' Statement reiterated, and I quote, "their grave concern about the situation in Zimbabwe." Then also they went on to say, "We deplore the actions of the Zimbabwean authorities" and also the point that, "we strongly urge the Zimbabwean authorities to work with the opposition to achieve a prompt, peaceful resolution of the crisis in accordance with the democratic wishes of the Zimbabwean people." They also said, "We note that the results of the 29 March elections must be respected and that any dialogue between the parties must allow a legitimate government to be formed. We will not accept the legitimacy of any government that does not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people." So, I think what Prime Minister Fukuda had in mind is that this Foreign Ministers' Statement will form a good basis for the G8 leaders to discuss the G8 leaders' response to the ongoing situation in Zimbabwe. Just for your information, this statement does not include any reference to sanctions.
Q: With regards to energy security and oil prices, you mentioned that they decided that these will be discussed at the Summit. My question to you is: will the discussions be geared toward actually finding some concrete solutions beyond simply saying that high oil prices are a problem, and could you tell us what kind of solutions the leaders might work towards? We saw some press reports this morning which suggested that more use of nuclear power might be put forward as one of the solutions; is that correct and could you elaborate on what other solutions they could talk about? Also, I understand the leaders of China and India are going to be here as well, so will these countries be urged to gradually phase out their fuel subsidies? Is that one of the solutions that might be discussed as well?
Mr. Kodama: Again I think I could share with you what may happen. I cannot speak on their behalf; at least I can tell you this much: on oil and food crises, the following measures may be incorporated into the G8 leaders' declaration. I would make four points. Number one: rising oil prices reflect, as we all know, demand and supply constraints, but other elements such as geopolitical concerns and financial factors also play a role. "Financial factors," of course, is a very euphemistic way of describing the role of speculative money which might affect the situation. Number two: on the demand side, energy efficiency should be further improved and diversification of energy sources should be pursued. So maybe under this theory, diversification of energy resources may include the use of nuclear energy and it may be discussed and included. Point three is on the supply side: oil producers should be encouraged to increase production and to invest to enhance long-term production capacity and also refinery capacities should be enhanced. Number four: oil markets can be made more efficient by promoting greater transparency and reliability in market data including oil stocks and on the size of financial flows coming into the oil markets. I am giving you these remarks - these were already discussed and adopted somehow by G8 Finance Ministers' Meeting, G8 Energy Ministers' Meeting or the most recently held meeting in Saudi, I think the Oil Ministers' Meeting of OPEC and some OECD countries together.
Q: I have a similar question, but on the environment. Last year we walked away from the conference with talk about halving global emissions by 50% by mid-century. Are there going to be any more concrete targets set at this conference? Or are we going to walk away with a statement again saying more of the same?
Mr. Kodama: Since Prime Minister Fukuda was very discrete in not disclosing what would transpire and, after all, the issue is one of the most challenging and important issues for the G8 leaders, but as a sort of a background, I guess I would like to at least share with you as follows.
On this issue, it is hoped that the G8 leaders will move forward from their Heiligendamm commitment. If you recall the Heiligendamm Summit, the declaration says, "We G8 leaders will consider seriously the decisions made by the EU, Canada and Japan which include at least a halving of global emissions by 2050." There are a couple of elements when the leaders will discuss this issue, I would say certainly long-term target, this 50-50. Of course we hope the G8 leaders would be able to agree on the need for the international community to share such a long-term vision of 50-50. On the other hand, it is crucially important for all the major economies, including India and China, to participate in an international framework, which will lead us to the global emissions reduction. This is why this year's G8 Summit and MEM are being held back to back. And G8 leaders may agree that G8 leaders share the global vision of 50-50 and they may urge MEM participants to embrace the same vision, but again, these are all speculations. I must say it is up to our leaders and also MEM participants.
I would also like to add a few more points. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tells us CO2 is not an enemy but we have got to stabilize the level of CO2 to a point where total CO2 emissions equal the total absorption amount of CO2 by Mother Nature. So to reach this equilibrium, we have got to reduce greenhouse gases by half by 2050; this is very simple mathematics.
Another important thing is if you compare the emission total between developed and developing countries - if you look at 2005, it is very interesting that 50% GHG is emitted by the developed world, the remaining 50% by the developing world. So, suppose this 50-50 is embraced by G8 plus MEM, and suppose G8 members will completely reduce GHG by 2050, I mean zero emissions, still, what the developing countries are allowed to do is maintain the current level of emissions. So, still, this is a very challenging target because we all know that China is going to develop further and India is going to grow further. Without introducing energy-efficient technologies, this is simply a pipe dream; this is not happening. But somehow, this 50-50 target is very interesting. In a way, it is the embodiment of what we call a common but differentiated responsibility. Anyway, I think I should stop here.
Q: At Heiligendamm there was a general commitment to increase the health support systems that were referred to in the fact sheet to 60 billion US dollars, but over no specific period. I wonder if there has been any convergence on what period it should cover?
Mr. Kodama: Thank you very much for asking this question, because frankly speaking, we are a little bit annoyed by the recent press report coming out from Europe that this Summit will somehow backtrack on these recent commitments; the commitments made by the previous summits, including Gleneagles or Heiligendamm and so on. That is completely false and unfounded. You will see anyway when you get the G8 leaders' statement, but let me just add a few more lines on this issue.
This year marks the halfway point for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), so G8 leaders will certainly deliver a strong and concrete message to help African countries to achieve the MDGs focusing on health, including infectious diseases, water and sanitation, and including education for all, and some other points. G8 leaders fully recognize that health-related MDGs are seriously lagging behind in Africa. While 2010 universal access year is approaching us, they renewed their determination to help developing countries achieve the MDGs, so I repeat, the allegation of the G8 trying to abandon 2010 universal access is false and unfounded. Indeed, on the health front, they are expected to agree to work toward the WHO's threshold goal of 2.3 health workers per 1,000 people and also, they are expected to agree on establishing the follow-up mechanism on monitoring the implementation of G8 commitment on health, and so on.
Q: Would you expect the G8 leaders to quiz President Mbeki quite closely tomorrow about his position on the Zimbabwe crisis and the African Union's position?
Mr. Kodama: You may know this, but the G8 Summit schedule starts from tomorrow lunchtime. There will be an Outreach Working Lunch which will cover TICAD IV and global challenges, including rising food prices. Then in the afternoon, there will be an Outreach Working Session, which will cover MDGs and other global challenges. And at either the Working Lunch or the Working Session, surely Mr. Mbeki will raise the issue of Zimbabwe, and of course I think G8 leaders, including Prime Minister Fukuda, will be attentive to what he going to tell them. And in any case, based on discussions, the views given by African leaders, we hope the G8 leaders will form a consensus position in addressing the issue of Zimbabwe.
Mr. Kodama: And now, if I may just make one other point -- this is about the Financial Times article on 4 July, Asian section -- the reason why I am referring to this article is this article has caused quite a reaction in Japan. The reason is rather simple because the title of this article is "Japan Goes Missing: the Invisible Host at the Summit." I just want to respond as the press secretary that I think this is a very unfair characterization of Japan's role as the G8 Summit Chair which started from January this year. I will just characterize how we feel on this article. I will use the cricket metaphor: Japan being a batsman, but before even entering into the crease, this poor batsman being declared out before the bowler bowls a delivery. So you know what I mean by this. This is unfair. Of course this writer has his views of course. Let me just quote some of the points he made. "When it is all over Japan can slip back into the shadows... others in the G8 have used their summits to promote pet projects, trumpeted 'Aid for Africa.' Germany: climate change. Japan seems to lack any burning priorities." We think this year's Summit has a couple of significant points to be remembered.
Number one, the largest number of participating countries - 22 countries - will gather in Toyako. And the 22 countries' energy consumption amounts to 80% of the world total. The nexus of issues to be discussed at the G8 Summit is by far the most complex one and the G8 Summit is deserving of the most appropriate venue to address these issues.
As you know, the G8 Summit identified four issues which require the urgent attention of the global community, so we say a shared sense of crisis, hopefully translating to a shared sense of destiny to come to grips with the issues of world economy, including the rising oil price and food prices, environment and climate change, Africa and development, political issues including non-proliferation and counterterrorism. So really I think this Summit is rather unique in tackling the nexus of issues. So how will our leaders be able to un-bundle the nexus, thereby finding a meaningful set of policies, measures to address these interrelated issues? Really I think this Summit is in this sense very unique and important, so that is how we see the importance of this Summit. It is up to you to judge the outcome, but I just feel obliged to draw your attention to this article, but I hope this writer could come to Toyako, but unfortunately we learned that he will not come to Toyako, he will remain in London. We would like to prove that we would be right in this.
Q: President Bush said in the press conference that he was pleased with the way that the US economy was going in the first quarter and made some optimistic noises about the second quarter. I would like to know, was this news to Japan? Did you take this as a new statement that the American economy is actually doing a bit better than had been feared?
Mr. Kodama: Let me answer this way. There was no discussion on the exchange rate as such when they met together. And then about how we received the news - we have been watching very carefully all the statistics on the US economy so we just take them as they stand.
Q: Was his tone more optimistic?
Mr. Kodama: I don't think I am in a position to answer your question. I think you could address your question to some other economists in the government. Sorry about that.
Q: Both President Bush and Prime Minister Fukuda said they would be going to the opening ceremony of the Olympics, and how many G8 leaders will be going? Do you know?
Mr. Kodama: I don't know to date who else will be attending the opening ceremony. But as Prime Minister Fukuda mentioned, the US president will definitely be going and Prime Minister Fukuda is taking this opportunity to announce that he would be going to attend this ceremony.
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