Speech by Mr. Yasutoshi Nishimura, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs

30 October 2008

Vice President of Inter-American Development Bank, Mr. Steven Puig,

Distinguished participants of the Asia-LAC Trade and Investment Forum,

His Excellencies, Ambassadors of Latin American and the Caribbean countries to Japan,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great honor to host this reception today. On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, I would like to welcome you all, particularly those who have come all the way across the Pacific to Japan.

First of all, I would like to congratulate the Inter-American Development Bank and its collaborators for successfully holding the first day session of "the Asia - Latin America and the Caribbean Trade and Investment Forum" today. Tonight, making the most of this precious opportunity, we have invited to this reception those who have been working actively to strengthen our relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean in different fields. I hope that this evening will also serve as an occasion for us to know each other and nurture friendship, in order to further develop the cooperative ties between Japan and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Latin American and Caribbean countries, after overcoming various challenges over the past decades, are now enjoying more consolidated democratic institutions, and more stable economic growth. Yet with their prudent economic policies, the current world financial crisis and the following economic downturn are placing another big challenge to all of them. Japan, as the chair of G8 as well as a country which has the experience of overcoming the financial crisis in the past, is determined to take necessary leadership to calm down the financial turbulence. I hope that the Latin American and Caribbean countries will also learn from their own experience of the past crises, and take necessary measures to minimize the impact of the crisis, always in close cooperation with the international community.

As you know, the economy of Latin America and the Caribbean is twice as large as the ASEAN, our neighboring South-East Asian countries. The region is also rich in mineral and energy resources and food production. Japan, on the other hand, depends natural resources deeply on foreign countries. Japan is strongly attracted to this region as stable supplier of resources, and also as growing market of its products.

I myself have had keen interest in the dynamism and potential of this region. I have been to Latin America many times, and last June I visited four countries there, just before assuming the current post as Parliamentary Vice-Minister.

In the recent economic situation, the Japanese yen has been appreciated. This is a good opportunity for Japan's foreign investment. The IDB Forum today was a great step forward to attract investment from Japan to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Economic exchanges between Japan and the region are expected to grow in the future. Whatever the world economic situation would be, the Japanese government will be taking necessary actions to facilitate trade and investment between Japan and the region.

I would like to finish my speech with sincere wish for further development of friendly and cooperative relations between Japan and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Thank you for your attention.

(In Spanish)

Muchas gracias.
Ahora, quisiera proponer un brindis:

Para el mayor desarrollo de nuestras relaciones amistosas y de cooperación y para el éxtito de todos los aquí presentes.


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