Remarks by Prime Minister Koizumi at Session 1
The Sixth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM6)

September 10, 2006

(1) Today, Asia and Europe share a wide range of interests. Because of these common interests, we, ASEM members have the responsibility to show ways to address effectively the common challenges we are facing. Today, as the time is limited, I would like to focus on the following three challenges.

(2) First, five years have passed since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Terrorism still remains a common threat to all mankind. We need to further strengthen multilateral approaches to counter it. I announce that Japan will host the Fifth ASEM Counter-Terrorism Conference next year.

(3) Second, I would like to refer to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and its means of delivery. This problem is a serious threat not only to Asia and Europe but to the entire world. When we look at recent nuclear developments in Iran and North Korea, it is obvious that the international nonproliferation regime faces a serious challenge. The international community should make a united and determined response to this issue.

(4) As for North Korea, which is in proximity to Japan, we should not forget the inhuman act of abductions, in addition to nuclear and missile issues. North Korea's abduction is an issue of international scope, which extends to South Korea and some European countries. North Korea is not a regional problem, but beyond. It is necessary for the international community to be united and to call on North Korea to make utmost efforts towards an early resolution of the abduction issue in response to the concerns of the international community on nuclear and missile issues and the abductions of innocent citizens. We should also call on North Korea to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1695, which was unanimously adopted, and, in particular, to return immediately to the Six-Party talks without preconditions.

(5) Third, piracy. As the movement of humans and goods become more and more active in Asia, the cooperation among Asian countries has developed in this field. As a maritime nation, Japan, attaching great importance to this problem, has played a leading role in the multilateral cooperation. This led to the entry into force on 4 September 2006 of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP). Efforts have been engaged in this way to make the seas in Asia more cooperative and safer ones. Japan will continue to cooperate with other Asian countries in this field.

(6) As I stated so far, we should address the common threats hand in hand through international cooperation. Japan will continue its active contribution to ASEM.

(7) As ASEM celebrates its 10th anniversary, I anticipate active discussions in order to energise it more as a forum for effective multilateral approach to effectively address the common challenges we face.

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