Statement by Ms. Chinami NISHIMURA, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
on the occasion of the seventeenth ordinary session of the African Union Executive Council
22 July 2010, Kampala

Honourable Professor Etta Elizabeth Banda, Chairperson of the African Union Executive Council,
His Excellency Mr Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
Honourable ministers and heads of delegations,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me express my heartfelt congratulations on the seventeenth ordinary session of the Executive Council. I am honoured to have been granted the special opportunity to say a few words at this opening ceremony.

First of all, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the victims of the terrorist attacks which took place in Kampala on the 11th of July, as well as to their bereaved families and the people of Uganda. I emphasise that the Government of Japan condemns all terrorist activities and reiterate that no act of terrorism can be justified.

Today I wish to make several points about Japan's policy on Africa on behalf of the Government of Japan.

(TICAD and the G8 Muskoka Summit)

Firstly, allow me to touch upon the TICAD process. As you are aware, the Second TICAD Ministerial Follow-up Meeting was held in Arusha, Tanzania, in May this year. Mr Katsuya Okada, Foreign Minister of Japan, and many cabinet ministers of African countries attended the conference. The African voice formulated at the Arusha meeting was conveyed to the international community by Mr Naoto Kan, Prime Minister of Japan, during the African Outreach at the G8 Muskoka Summit in Canada. Moreover, Prime Minister Kan announced that, under the Muskoka Initiative, Japan would provide additional assistance up to 50 billion yen, approximately 500 million US dollars, for maternal and child health, which is the main agenda of the upcoming AU Summit.

The Kan administration maintains the previous government's commitment to steadily delivering the pledges made at the TICAD IV, such as doubling ODA to Africa. Furthermore, the Government of Japan has already started working for the fulfilment of pledges that Foreign Minister Okada announced in Arusha. Firstly, Japan is already implementing projects to support the achievement of the MDGs including maternal and child health, with a view to disbursing one billion US dollars by the next follow-up meeting. Secondly, as for assistance in infrastructure and agricultural development, Japan is striving to implement infrastructure projects worth two billion US dollars over 2 years by making use of yen loans. Thirdly, in order to boost trade and investment, Japan is now preparing for the dispatch of the Joint Mission for Promoting Trade and Investment to Africa in autumn this year.

In September, the United Nations will hold the MDG Summit. Taking into account the discussions in Arusha and at the G8 Muskoka Summit, Japan will actively contribute to the international debate from our perspective to advocate the concept of human security.

(Enhancing Japan-AU relations)

Now, let me touch upon Japan-AU relations. Japan welcomes the AU's increasing role in promoting development as well as peace and security in Africa. Taking the opportunity of His Excellency Mr Jean Ping's milestone visit to Japan scheduled in August, Japan expects to further strengthen its cooperative relations with the AU.

Japan-AU cooperation in African development has already been enhanced greatly through the AU Commission's active participation in the preparation of the Arusha meeting. Japan will continue to promote cooperation with the African countries through assistance in infrastructure improvement and human resource development while examining the possibility of supporting the project of the Pan-African University.

Japan will also contribute to peace and security in Africa more actively than ever. I was on a visit to Sudan until two days ago and exchanged opinions with leaders of northern and southern Sudan as a part of such contribution. In order to support the AU's endeavour for peace and security, Japan will continue its cooperation, such as financial contribution to the AU Peace Fund and assistance to PKO training centres in Africa.

(Addressing global challenges)

Ladies and gentlemen,

In light of the strong ties and trust between Japan and African countries that we have fostered over the years, Japan hopes to cooperate with Africa in addressing global issues such as climate change and UN Security Council reform.

As for tackling climate change, Japan aims for the adoption of a comprehensive new legal document to establish a fair and effective international framework with the participation of all major economies. Japan will enhance cooperation with Africa through dialogues with African nations, delivering an assistance pledge worth fifteen billion US dollars over 3 years, and hosting the Ministerial Meeting on Forest Conservation Cooperation and Climate Change in October.

Meanwhile, we need to realise swiftly reform of the UN Security Council to ensure that it has the legitimacy to represent the international community. Japan expects to cooperate with African countries so that reform efforts expeditiously achieve concrete outcomes including the improvement of Africa's representation.

To conclude, I express my sincere hope that discussion at this Executive Council session will significantly contribute to the achievement of development goals as well as peace and stability in Africa.

Thank you.

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