Statement by H.E. Mr. Takeaki MATSUMOTO, State Secretary for Foreign
Affairs of Japan
on the Occasion of the Eighteenth Ordinary Session
of the Executive Council of the African Union
27 January 2011, Addis Ababa

January 27, 2011

French, Japanese

Honorable Professor Etta Elizabeth Banda, Chairperson of the Executive Council of the African Union,
Your Excellency Dr Jean Ping, Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union,
Honorable Ministers and Heads of Delegation,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me express my heartfelt congratulations on the Eighteenth Ordinary Session of the Executive Council. I am honored to have been granted the opportunity to make a statement at this opening ceremony.

Today I wish to explain the three pillars of the diplomacy towards Africa which the Japanese government has been deploying vigorously. I will then express Japan’s determination to build even more robust relations with the African Union as it pursues its policy towards Africa.

(Japan’s policy towards Africa)

The first pillar of Japan’s policy towards Africa is "contributing to peace and stability.” Japan has been steadily following the path of a peaceful state since the end of World War II in 1945. Japan is one of the nations that attach great importance to "peace and stability”.

I would like to express Japan’s sincere congratulations on the Southern Sudan referendum being conducted as scheduled in largely peaceful circumstances without any major disruptions. With a view to consolidating peace in Sudan, it is essential that the parties involved in both North and South Sudan accept the results to be announced, and that they continuously cooperate with each other as partners. Japan has been extending assistance for the referendum, including the dispatch of an observation mission. Japan will continue to actively support the north-south peace process.

Yesterday I visited Djibouti. In order to help solve the major threat posed by the problem of piracy and to bring stability to Somalia by keeping it from serving as a breeding ground for terrorists, Japan will continue to offer assistance aimed at enhancing public safety in Somalia and the surrounding countries, as well as offering humanitarian aid and aid related to improving infrastructure.

Japan will continue to cooperate actively in securing peace as Africa confronts such complicated issues through, for instance, providing assistance for PKO training centers in Africa.

Improving governance and establishing democracy are also important in ensuring peace and stability.

In seeking to maintain its amicable relations with Tunisia, Japan attaches importance to the announcement made by Prime Minister Ghannouchi of a new cabinet and his pledges on freedom of the media and the holding of fair elections.We have high expectations that the upcoming presidential election will be conducted freely, fairly and under peaceful circumstances.

Côte d’Ivoire has tragically seen fatal clashes over the result of its presidential election, and the situation there remains unpredictable. Japan, in line with the AU, ECOWAS and the UN, hopes to see an early and peaceful resolution in a manner that respects the will of the people of Cote d’Ivoire who have chosen Mr. Ouattara as their President.

The second pillar of Japan’s policy towards Africa is "expanding development assistance, trade and investment.” Japan will continue to actively cooperate with Africa, sharing its own experience and technological expertise.

In particular, we are steadily delivering the pledge made at the TICAD IV to double ODA to Africa by 2012. To consolidate this effort, we have been holding the Ministerial Follow-up Meetings in Africa every year since TICAD IV. This year, we envisage holding this Meeting in Senegal at the end of April or during the first week of May. We would like to have the honor of the presence of your honorable Ministers in charge at this Meeting.

Last November Japan approved additional assistance amounting to about US $380 million for humanitarian aid in Africa including disaster counter-measures. The "Kan Commitment” in the areas of health and education was announced at the UN MDGs Summit last September to lend a hand to African countries that are having difficulties in achieving the MDGs. Through such assistance, Japan will continue to take pro-active steps to support Africa’s development.

African countries occupy an important place in the economic diplomacy being stressed by Foreign Minister Maehara. Japan is seeking to expand trade and investment as it pushes ahead with public-private partnerships through such means as making the financing available that is needed to double private investment, another pledge made at TICAD IV, and dispatching public and private sector joint missions.

The third pillar is "addressing global issues.” 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.

Regarding 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. We are also delivering our commitment to supply assistance, which includes aid for African countries, amounting to US $15 billion over a period of three years. Toward COP17, we will cooperate with the chair South Africa and other African countries to make this framework effective in light of the Cancun Agreement.

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

(Strengthening Japan-AU relations)

Cooperation with the African Union is essential in pursuing cooperation with Africa across the broad range of issues I have just touched upon. We are convinced that the AU is also attaching special importance to the cooperative relationship with Japan. The "Joint Communiqué Regarding the Reinforcement of the Cooperative Relationship between Japan and the African Union” issued on the occasion of Chairperson Ping’s visit to Japan last August will serve as the foundation for such cooperation. We are following up this Communiqué under Minister Maehara and working to strengthen our cooperative relationship with the AU, including closer collaboration on efforts to improve human security.

Above all, this is the first year that the AU Commission has become a TICAD co-organizer. In the TICAD process, Japan will seek closer collaboration with the AU Commission, including preparations for the Ministerial Follow-up Meeting, all the while welcoming greater ownership from the African side.

In addition, in line with the Communiqué, Japan is already engaged in cooperation such as contributions of Japanese consultants for the realization of the vision of the Pan-African University and the development of the PIDA (Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa). We are also examining possible technical cooperation for the AU Commission.

Through these various efforts, we hope to cooperate with the AU to strengthen and deepen the cooperative relationship between Japan and the African Union.

The theme of this AU Summit is "Shared Values.” Japan is eager to move forward hand-in-hand with Africa and the AU in pursuit of the shared values of peace and prosperity. We shall spare no assistance and effort to that end.

Thank you for your kind attention.

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