The First Japan-Arab Political Dialogue
September 11, 2017
On September 11, from 6:30 p.m. for approximately 3 hours and a haf, the first Japan-Arab Political Dialogue was held in Cairo, Egypt. The overview is as follows. H.E. Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of League of Arab States, hosted the meeting and H.E. Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, attended as representative of the Government of Japan, co-chairing with H.E. Mr. Abdelkader Messahel, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of Algeria. A joint statement was adopted at the end of the meeting.
1 Participants, agenda
(1)ParticipantsSecretary General of League of Arab States, 8 Ministers for Foreign Affairs, 5 ministerial level representatives from 21 member states and regions of the League of Arab States.
Monday September 11
- Opening session (speech on Middle East policy by Minister Kono (PDF))
- Working session
- Closing session (remarks by Minister Kono)
- Dinner hosted by Secretary General of League of Arab States
- Joint press conference
2 The overview of the meeting
- In the opening session, Minister Kono made a speech on Japan’s foreign policy towards Middle East in which he placed the region as the foundation for peace and prosperity of Japan, and since Japan has gained trust as a good friend of Middle East, Minister Kono stated that Japan is willing to play an even more active role towards peace and stability in the region. In addition, under “Kono Four Principles” which consist of (i)intellectual and human contribution, (ii)investment in “people”, (iii)enduring efforts, and (iv)enhancing political efforts, Minister Kono announced five new initiatives, which are (a) upgrading the “Corridor for Peace and Prosperity” initiative, (b) further contribution to the Multinational Force and Observers: MFO, (c) expanding cooperation on education and human resources development, (d) enhancing political efforts, and (e) new humanitarian assistance for refugee and stability. Moreover, as part of these initiatives, Minister Kono also announced that Japan will extend approximately 25 million dollars for humanitarian crisis in the surrounding nations of Syria and Iraq (New Grant Aid in response to humanitarian crisis in Iraq, Syria and those surrounding countries (PDF)).
- In the working session, Minister Kono made reference to the situation in East Asia, stating that the conduct of nuclear test by North Korea constitutes a direct challenge to the international community which poses an unprecedentedly grave and imminent threat to peace and stability of Japan and the international community, and thus he emphasized the importance of exerting the greatest pressure possible on North Korea by the international community as a whole. In response, participants condemned nuclear tests and missile launches by North Korea, expressed their opposition to nuclear development by North Korea which poses a threat to the peace and stability not just of East Asia but of the international community, or expressed their understanding to the position of Japan.
- In the closing session, the joint statement was adopted (Japan-Arab Political Dialogue Joint Statement) and Minister Kono stated that with the success of today’s forum as the beginning, Japan would like to continue working closely with Arab states in order to strengthen not only bilateral relationships between Japan and Arab states but more inclusive, multilayered, and strategic relationship.
- The Political dialogue was a good opportunity where Minister Kono, who regarded the Middle East as one of the five pillars of the Japanese diplomacy, could show the enhancing Japanese political role in the Middle East.
- It was meaningful that the Ministers of Japan and the Arab countries talked directly at a time when East Asia and Middle East face various challenges.
- Concerning the situation in the North Korea which is a grave and imminent threat, it was significant opportunity for Japan to explain the Japanese stance directly to the Arab countries and get support and understanding about the necessity to intensify pressure by the international community as a whole.