Press Conference by the Deputy Press Secretary, 8 December 2011

  1. Draft Outline of the African Green Growth Strategy: Toward Low-Carbon Growth and Climate Resilient Development
  2. Indonesia's Ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
  3. International Afghanistan Conference in Bonn
  4. 4th Japan-Baltic Seminar (The Baltic States and Japan through media)
  5. Questions concerning Funds from the Third Supplementary Budget being Used to Assist Whaling Communities

  1. Draft Outline of the African Green Growth Strategy: Toward Low-Carbon Growth and Climate Resilient Development
  2. Deputy Press Secretary Ms. Naoko Saiki: Good afternoon, everybody. I would like to start today's conference. I am going to touch upon several announcements before taking your questions.

    Ms. Saiki: First, on the draft outline of the "African Green Growth Strategy: Toward Low-Carbon Growth and Climate Resilient development." On Wednesday, December 7, during the COP17 side event hosted by the government of Japan in Durban, South Africa, Japan announced the draft outline of the "African Green Growth Strategy: Toward Low-Carbon Growth and Climate Resilient development." Japan will present an integral report on African Green Growth Strategy at the upcoming TICAD IV Ministerial Follow-Up Meeting in 2012, and plans to present the final report of it on the occasion of the World Bank-IMF General Assembly to be held in autumn 2012 in Tokyo. For reference, we have distributed the document titled, "African Green Growth Strategy: Toward Low-Carbon Growth and Climate-Resilient Development (Draft Elements)."

  3. Indonesia's Ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
  4. Ms. Saiki: Second, on the approval by the Indonesian Parliament for Indonesia's ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Japan welcomes that the Parliament of the Republic of Indonesia, which is one of 44 Annex 2 States, whose ratification is needed for entering into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, approved Indonesia's ratification of the treaty on Tuesday, December 6. This is an important step forward for the treaty's entry into force, as it will encourage the remaining eight Annex 2 States which have not ratified the treaty to ratify it. On this occasion, we would like to renew our call on the remaining eight Annex 2 States and other non-ratifying countries to follow Indonesia's example and promptly ratify the Treaty.

  5. International Afghanistan Conference in Bonn
  6. Ms. Saiki: Third, on the International Afghanistan Conference held on Monday, December 5 in Bonn, Germany. Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Joe Nakano attended the Conference. Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakano stated that, as a step following Bohn, Japan intends to host a ministerial conference in Tokyo in July next year. The participants in the conference welcomed Japan's initiative. The Tokyo conference will address, in addition to the coordination of international economic assistance through the transition period, Afghanistan's strategy for sustainable development including regional economic cooperation.

    I would like to draw your attention to the fact sheet before you on the implementation status of Japan's assistance package to Afghanistan. The document is included in the packet we have prepared for you.

  7. 4th Japan-Baltic Seminar (The Baltic States and Japan through media)
  8. Ms. Saiki: Fourth and last, on the 4th Japan-Baltic Seminar (the Baltic States and Japan through Media). The year 2011 marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of New Diplomatic Relations between Japan and the Baltic States. In 1990, the Baltic States proclaimed independence. History shows the media has played an important role in the movement for democracy, as seen in the case for the Baltic States. As the closing event for this memorial year, the 4th Japan-Baltic Seminar invites journalists from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. They will explain the situation of journalism in their countries and their views on the world. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, in coordination with The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, will organize the event on Wednesday, December 14. We welcome your active participation in the seminar.

    Now I would like to take any questions you may have.

  9. Questions concerning Funds from the Third Supplementary Budget being Used to Assist Whaling Communities
  10. Q: We have seen reports that Green Peace is saying that 23 billion yen of tsunami relief funds are being used for the whaling industry. Could you confirm this?

    Ms. Saiki: I am not aware of the reports you just referred to, so I am afraid that I need to check with some of my colleagues responsible for the matter and get back to you at a later stage with the answer.

    Q: Then, in that case, apparently this could be from the third supplementary budget. Do you know if any of the third supplementary budget was used for areas that are whaling communities?

    Ms. Saiki: As has been made clear to the public, the third supplementary budget is for the recovery and reconstruction of the affected areas, namely the Tohoku region. So as far as the third supplementary budget is used in order to reconstruct the disaster-affected area, there are quite a few items and objects within.

    Q: A few items and objects - would this be related to?

    Ms. Saiki: Related to what?

    Q: Do you mean that because the third supplementary budget is for-

    Ms. Saiki: The reconstruction and recovery of the area hit by the disaster of March 11.

    Q: Would these areas include whaling communities?

    Ms. Saiki: I am not quite sure about the meaning of the "whaling communities." As I responded to you a minute ago, I have to check with my colleagues responsible for the matter as to whether a particular fund is going to be used for the whaling purposes. I am not aware of that fact at this stage.

    Q: OK. From the viewpoint of the Foreign Ministry, the whaling issue has garnered a lot of attention overseas and again with these reports. Could you answer as to how you view the current situation in terms of the whaling issue and how that might affect international relations between Japan and, say, other countries that are very concerned about this?

    Ms. Saiki: Thank you for the question. With respect to the research whaling, we believe that Japan's research whaling is a legitimate and legal activity in the high seas in accordance with the relevant international law. And, furthermore, on this occasion, I would like to emphasize that violent obstructive activities anticipated from anti-whaling activists, such as Sea Shepherd, on the high seas, will be very, very dangerous. They will endanger the safety of the vessels and personnel at sea. So, I would like to urge those activists to refrain from resorting to any violent obstructive activities. And, we, the Japanese government, have been coordinating with other countries concerned with respect to the strengthened security measures against any obstructive activities on the high seas.

    Q: Well, if parts of the third supplementary budget were being used for the security of research whaling, as some of the reports are, would that be justifiable, do you think, in terms of the goal of the earthquake relief funds being used for reconstruction?

    Ms. Saiki: Again, I would like to reiterate what I have responded earlier: namely, I was not aware of the reports. I will have to look into the matter with the help of my colleagues responsible for the matter and get back to you with the answer at a later stage. I am not prepared to respond to any speculative questions or hypothetical questions. 

    Q: Thank you.

    Ms. Saiki: Do you have any other questions?

    Q: I think we are OK. Thank you so much.

    Ms. Saiki: Thank you for coming. I hope you will come next week, as well. This concludes today's conference. Thank you.


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