Press Conference, 26 February 2009
- Exchange of notes between Japan and Kosovo to establish diplomatic relations
- Visit to Japan by Director-General Pascal Lamy of the World Trade Organization
- Visit to Japan by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Mr. Koffi Esaw of the Togolese Republic
- Visit to Japan by Minister of Planning and Investment Mr. Vo Hong Phuc of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
- Appointment of three "Kawaii Ambassadors"
- Questions concerning the discussion between President Barack Obama of the United States and Prime Minister Taro Aso of Japan on the issue of protectionism
- Questions concerning the "Kawaii Ambassadors"
- Questions concerning the Pakistan Assistance Conference to be held in Tokyo
- Questions concerning the visit of Foreign Minister Mr. Hirofumi Nakasone to the People's Republic of China
- Questions concerning the position of the Japanese Government on recent events in Pakistan
Deputy Press Secretary Yasuhisa Kawamura: Good afternoon. Welcome.
Let me start with a few announcements.
The first announcement is about Kosovo. Yesterday, Wednesday, the 24th, Japan and Kosovo exchanged notes to establish diplomatic relations, in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo.
With this E/N, the two countries have established diplomatic relations, and laid the foundation of the friendly and cooperative future relations between Japan and Kosovo.
Second, Mr. Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, or WTO, is concluding his visit to Japan today.
Foreign Minister Nakasone met with Director-General Lamy on Tuesday. In the meeting, Foreign Minister Nakasone said three things: (1) that Japan would support the WTO's monitoring mechanism of the member countries' trade measures of protectionism; (2) that Japan would continue to make efforts towards the early conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda, or Doha Round negotiations; and (3) that Japan has continuously implemented its previous commitments for "Aid for Trade." Moreover, I would like to call your attention that Prime Minister Aso also agreed with President Obama yesterday in Washington, D.C., that "the fight-against-protectionism" was the prime responsibility for both Japan and the United States.
III. Visit to Japan by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Mr. Koffi Esaw of the Togolese Republic
Third, I would like to briefly touch upon two foreign dignitaries who are now visiting Japan.
The first one, from Togo, Mr. Koffi Esaw, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, is now visiting Japan from Monday through Friday, the 27th.
On Tuesday, the 24th, Foreign Minister Nakasone met with Foreign Minister Esaw and assured him that Japan would support Togo's reconstruction efforts by implementing Japan's programs announced last year at the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development or TICAD IV and G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit.
IV. Visit to Japan by Minister of Planning and Investment Mr. Vo Hong Phuc of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
Another, from Vietnam, Mr. Vo Hong Phuc, Minister of Planning and Investment, is also visiting Japan as a Special Envoy of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. Foreign Minister Nakasone agreed with Minister Vo Hong Phuc on Monday on the continuous joint efforts for developing the bilateral strategic partnership as well as for the success of the Japan-Mekong Year of 2009.
Fourth and last, this afternoon, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will appoint three Japanese female "Kawaii Ambassadors" to promote Japan's - "Kawaii" is a Japanese adjective which means "pretty" or "charming." We have named "Kawaii Ambassadors," three female ambassadors, to promote Japanese pop culture. The Japanese pop-culture now receives, internationally, high popularity, in particular among the younger generation.
I have distributed handouts about these "Kawaii Ambassadors" for your reference, please see them for details. I understand that they will start to pick up an Asian and a European country for their initial trips.
Q: They are going to?
Mr. Kawamura: The first destination will be Bangkok, Thailand, where Japan is hosting a "Japan Festa" of Japanese culture, in Bangkok, in the coming month. That will be the first.
The second destination, as I understand, is Europe (France). And accordingly they will visit other countries.
VI. Questions concerning the discussion between President Barack Obama of the United States and Prime Minister Taro Aso of Japan on the issue of protectionism
Q: I am very interested that Mr. Aso and Mr. Obama agreed about protectionism. Can you give us more detail? Because it is important.
Mr. Kawamura: Yes, and I agree with you too. Mr. Aso and Mr. Obama agreed in the meeting on the 24th concerning the issue of the "fight against protectionism." The two leaders shared the view that for the recovery of the world economy, the fight against protectionism is the prime responsibility of the two world economies, the first and second largest economies in the world, that are Japan and the United States. And Mr. Aso also said the countries should make further efforts for the early successful conclusion of the WTO Doha Round negotiations.
Q: Are they agreeing to a joint action too?
Mr. Kawamura: Well, as far as yesterday's summit meeting is concerned, they didn't go into much details of the tactics and strategies on how they are going to obtain the goal in the fight against protectionism or Doha Round negotiations. But I call your attention to the very recent visit by Mr. Pascal Lamy of the WTO to Japan, as I just introduced in my initial statement. Mr. Pascal Lamy was here to discuss exactly the same issue, WTO Doha Round negotiations and the fight against protectionism. Foreign Minister Nakasone agreed with him that Japan would continue to support WTO's monitoring mechanism in Geneva WTO. I mean whether the member countries would employ trade measures and those measures would be the WTO consistent or not, this is the first element. And the second element is, Japan agreed to continue to make further efforts to conclude the round negotiations. And thirdly, in order to gain the understanding and support of the developing countries, that Japan would cooperate with the WTO and other member countries to help the developing countries. This campaign is called "Aid for Trade." This initiative has been continued for several years already and Japan already committed to this strategy at the previous Hong Kong WTO ministerial meeting. Japan pledged the similar initiative which is called "the Development Initiative," and under that umbrella Japan has initiated several measures to help the trade liberalization and trade development of the developing partners. To sum up, we will continue to carry out the actions under this initiative, and Mr. Lamy appreciated those efforts. They are the Japanese efforts on this particular issue, and I think the United States is also thinking about and implementing similar efforts toward the same goal.
Q: About "Kawaii Ambassadors," why does Japan not go to the whole ASEAN countries to promote popular culture. Because Japan's popular culture is very popular in ASEAN countries, not only Bangkok, I mean.
Mr. Kawamura: Well, this is the start of the initiative, so I believe that in the coming months we will consider other destinations.
Q: Including Jakarta?
Mr. Kawamura: I will take note of it and convey your interest to people in charge. I appreciate the expectation on the side of the other ASEAN countries toward this kind of Japanese activism in pop-culture.
Q: Because it is important also to Japan in ASEAN, not only they have a strong relation in upper-side, but also in the grassroots. So I think this "Kawaii Ambassador" is a great choice for Jakarta.
Mr. Kawamura: Thank you very much for your encouraging comment, I will take a note of it and certainly we will consider how we can meet with the expectations of the rest of the ASEAN countries as well.
Q: A bit not related with today's thing, it is said to help Afghanistan and Pakistan there is going to be a conference in Tokyo?
Mr. Kawamura: The Pakistan Assistance Conference in Tokyo, you mean?
Q: Yes. The preparations are underway?
Mr. Kawamura: The assistance toward Pakistan is one of the major items that was discussed between the Japanese and US Foreign Ministers last week. As Minister Nakasone told Secretary Clinton on that occasion, Japan is preparing to host the assistance conference towards Pakistan. But at this particular moment we need to further elaborate the modality and the agenda of the conference, but we are very pleased and proud that we can promote the preparation of the conference. We will come out later for more details.
Q: So still no details yet to present?
Mr. Kawamura: At this moment. But we are preparing for an announcement.
Q: When do you think it will be available?
Mr. Kawamura: Well the sooner the better of course. When we are ready we will come out and make an announcement.
Q: I would like to have - because I only got a permit from Pakistan to live in Tokyo at the moment, so I would like to get whatever possible, if you have time.
Mr. Kawamura: Certainly, I will keep you posted.
IX. Questions concerning the visit of Foreign Minister Mr. Hirofumi Nakasone to the People's Republic of China
Q: Can I have one question about China? Can you give us details about the main proposal of Nakasone to visit China?
Mr. Kawamura: Foreign Minister Nakasone is leaving on the 28th and coming back on the 1st of March for a two day visit to China. This visit by Mr. Nakasone is going to be the first visit to China as the Foreign Minister.
The main mission of Mr. Nakasone's visit to China is to keep a good profile and maintain the existing momentum of cooperative high level dialogue. Since last year, in particular on the high level, Japan and China have maintained good cooperative reactive dialogue.
Japan and China are committed to the relations of mutual benefits based upon strategic interests. The Minister's visit over this coming weekend will be another realization of that framework approach. Japan has recently held a series of high level meetings with the United States on various issues including the issue of the Asia-Pacific regions. The upcoming Minister's visit is going to provide a good opportunity for Japan and China on the level of Foreign Ministers to exchange notes after the visit of Secretary Clinton and discuss the future cooperation between Japan, China and the United States on various issues which will affect the fate of the Asian region.
On the bilateral front as well Japan and China need to address jointly in a cooperative way the area of economy and the area of security, North Korea and other missions. Because the Japan-China-Korea held a summit meeting last December in Fukuoka, we agreed several points of actions, and they need to be followed up. Those are the main elements to be addressed by the two Foreign Ministers in China this weekend.
Q: I think it is very interesting that Mr. Nakasone visits China and the situation is getting hot in the Korean peninsula.
Mr. Kawamura: The Korean peninsula is going to be an important element to be discussed, as a matter of course.
Q: Has the Government of Japan issued any statement on what happened yesterday, one of the second biggest political parties has been set back, and the Government has been run out of provinces as a result. Are there any comments from Japan? It is a big problem in Pakistan right now. It is a big political issue.
Mr. Kawamura: Comment About?
Q: About this Muslim League Minister of one of the provinces. He has been separated from the Government, and the Government's rule has been imposed on one of the biggest provinces, which is Punjab.
Mr. Kawamura: Can I get back to you later on this particular point, because I don't have material right with me.
Q: Because lately this is really being talked about.
Mr. Kawamura: So I will contact you again through telephone or by appointment again, one way or another, I will get back to you on this point.
[I cannot make a comment on this. But Japan will monitor how things may develop with attention.]
Back to Index