|Lyon Summit Information|
Press Conference by Spokesman for the Delegation of Japan Hiroshi Hashimoto
Working Luncheon and Economic Declaration
- Introduction of speaker and briefing status
- Japan's contributions to the Economic Declaration
- Leaders' working luncheon
- Working luncheon of foreign ministers
- Possibility of Chinese participation in the WTO
- Labor standards
- Financial market issues
- Extraterritoriality of the Helms-Burton Act
- Possible IMF gold sales
- Meeting on employment to be hosted in Japan
- United Nations reform
- The Northern Territories issue
- Election of the Secretary-General of the United Nations
- Introduction of speaker and briefing status
Moderator: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to this on-the-record briefing by the Japanese delegation. Before we begin, I would just like to remind you of the ground rules for this press conference. Today's speaker will be Foreign Ministry Press Secretary Hiroshi Hashimoto. Mr. Hashimoto is the official Spokesman for the Japanese Delegation to the G-7 Summit. As this is an on-the-record briefing; you may quote Mr. Hashimoto by name and title or as the Spokesman for the Japanese Government. Mr. Hashimoto will begin with a brief statement. Following this statement, he will open the floor to questions. If you have a question, please raise your hand and wait to be recognized by the Spokesman. Once you are called on, please proceed to the microphone. Please state your name and affiliation before proceeding with your question. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Let me now introduce Mr. Hiroshi Hashimoto, Spokesman for the Japanese Delegation.
Japan's contributions to the Economic Declaration
Spokesman for the Delegation of Japan Hiroshi Hashimoto: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to this press conference. I would like to briefly tell you about three things. One is about the Economic Declaration, which you have already read. I will just quickly tell you how we contributed to the Declaration. Japan considers the following points to be important, among other topics. One is development. We very much appreciate that the concept of a new global partnership has been included in the Declaration, and especially the concept of development targets. Having them included in the statement, these two things, are what the Government of Japan has been advocating. Secondly, the United Nations reform. Japan has been advocating for United Nations reform in a balanced way, not stressing simply the need to cut the budget. Our argument is well reflected in the Economic Declaration. At the same time, we are pleased to note that our idea to refund the saved money from the reform to other appropriate areas such as development has been included. Thirdly, employment. Japan advocates hosting an international meeting on employment sometime next year. We have not yet elaborated on the content of the meeting. For the time being, what we have in mind is to host an experts meeting on this; however, we do not exclude the possibility of inviting ministers in charge to this meeting. The fourth point is on trade and investment. Japan advocates the participation of the People's Republic of China in the World Trade Organization (WTO). For this purpose, Japan endeavors to extend further technical assistance and to strengthen dialogue with China. On trade and investment, Japan is proposing a guideline on this particular subject. Japan intends to host a symposium in this upcoming September on trade and investment, with the purpose of strengthening dialogue with developing countries. This symposium will be held within the context of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. This is what we think of as contributions to the Economic Declaration.
Leaders' working luncheon
Spokesman for the Delegation of Japan Hiroshi Hashimoto: I will tell you quickly about the working luncheon of the Summiteers. They talked about three subjects: the international monetary system, trade, and development. As far as the first subject is concerned, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan led the debate. He said that with the progress of globalization, we should respond to the new challenge in the field of the international monetary system. Probably, the challenges are in the following three fields. The first one is what the G-7 countries have been already endeavoring to realize, that is, cooperation for the stability of currency among the developed countries. The second is how to respond to financial crises, which we experienced in Mexico; that type of crisis in the future. The third point is how to respond to new financial technologies, such as the mutual fund, derivatives, etc. On the first subject, Prime Minister Hashimoto said that the most important thing for the stable international monetary system is a healthy macroeconomic management for each country and coordination among the G-7 countries. He appreciated the report produced by the G-7 finance ministers and the governors of the central banks. He welcomed the stability of the foreign currency market on the basis of coordination among the G-7 countries. He said that while the currencies are stable, G-7 countries have a good chance to further consolidate the system for how to manage a crisis. On the second question, especially, Prime Minister Hashimoto talked about the emerging markets. Because of the dynamic economic development in the Asia-Pacific region, the capital flow is increasing in various ways and we should welcome this trend. At the same time, we have to prepare ourselves for the new risk. He went on to appreciate the enlarged facilities on the General Agreement to Borrow (GAB), and at the same time, he pointed out that substantial realization of the eleventh replenishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should occur. On the new financial technologies, he said that the technologies have been rapidly growing for the last 20 years, and that it is necessary to continue studying the risk emerging from those new technologies. I believe that is what Prime Minister Hashimoto said to his colleagues on the subject.
Working luncheon of foreign ministers
Spokesman for the Delegation of Japan Hiroshi Hashimoto: I would like to briefly explain to you about the working lunch of the foreign ministers. Many talked about how to strengthen preventive diplomacy. Minister for Foreign Affairs Yukihiko Ikeda of Japan said that our Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), our external aid, for Japan, is preventive diplomacy in broad terms. We believe that the development of the economy is very important for securing stability in a region. He talked about Japan's experience in Africa and in Asia. Secondly, Foreign Minister Ikeda talked about the situation in the Asia-Pacific region. He said there is not a multilateral security system over there like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Instead, there is a forum called the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), where the participants talk about confidence-building measures rather than preventive policies. However, they have already started talks about the Spratly Islands, and it will contribute to strengthening preventive measures. That is about all I can say. If you have any questions, I would be delighted to answer them for you.
Possibility of Chinese participation in the WTO
Q: What was Japan's position on having core labor standards raised in the WTO? Secondly, I understand that Japan earlier did not want reference to industrial tariff cuts. Apparently, the Japanese wanted it to just be for pharmaceuticals, and not general industrial. That's the second question. Thirdly, how much time did you spend talking about China -- trying to promote Chinese membership in the WTO. Did you get any assurances that your partners would go easy on letting China in?
A: The product of the discussions is reflected in the Economic Declaration. As for the political issues, our debate will be reflected in the Chairman's proposal which will come out later. So, would you please judge to what extent our argument is reflected in this. However, I do not personally know how long Prime Minister Hashimoto talked about the early participation of China in the WTO. But, do you think that the length of the discussion is so important? Anyway, he emphasized the importance of this issue.
Q: Maybe I did not explain myself. I knew it was a priority for Japan. I did not mean how many minutes or hours or seconds. What I meant was, did he have the opportunity, the sufficient time, to mention it to Mr. Clinton -- that's what I am saying? And, what were the response to this? Did you make any progress on China?
A: As far as China is concerned, we have to continue to negotiate in the WTO. Therefore, we hope that after the Lyon Summit, we will tell our Chinese colleagues that we have done such and such, and tell them that we should intensify our negotiations with China. I hope that would be the case with China and other members of the WTO. You raised three questions. Would you repeat the first one? Trade and labor standards?
Q: I know that Britain was very against having that refer to the WTO, and the British Exchequer last week in Florence in a reference to this was talking about the flexibility of the British labor market. He said that the reason was that Japan came and invested in Britain.
A: In any case, as far as the result of the debate is concerned, you should refer to the Economic Declaration. Having said so, Japan's position on this has been announced or related to the others in the past several times. On the basis of the OECD report, there is not a direct correlation between trade and labor standards. At the same time, we have got to admit that in some developing countries the labor standards are not observed satisfactorily. What forum should be appropriate to address this issue? Again, I tell you that there is a short reference on this question in the Economic Declaration. In any case, we principally think that this issue should not lead to further protectionist measures, if I may say so. This should not be treated as another means to cut trade with the developing countries.
Financial market issues
Q: In the past, your Government and the French Government have expressed concern on the question of financial speculation. President Chirac, a year ago in Halifax, even referred to it as the "AIDS of the world economy." You did refer to a concern about that out of your Prime Minister. But, I would like to be more specific -- every day in the markets, there is a about US$1.5 trillion in transactions, compared to a very small amount by comparison of transactions in trade and production. I wanted to know whether that problem was specifically addressed -- this vast ratio, this speculation to the real economy, and whether or not there was any discussion for or against about a tax on speculative financial transactions.
A: The Summiteers freely exchanged views on this. Yes, there are some Summiteers who doubt whether a government or governments can control the huge transactions of money. Some of them question whether the early warning system can work or not. In any case, I should say that the essence of the debate, of course, is included in the Economic Declaration; but as far as the free discussions over the working lunch were concerned, they just emphasized the importance of strengthening the early warning systems, strengthening surveillance, and tried to study what the G-7 countries can do vis-」iss the new financial products and technology. They have decided to ask the Sherpas to study further on these subjects.
Extraterritoriality of the Helms-Burton Act
Q: What has been the Japanese participation in the discussions about the Helms-Burton Bill, and also the upcoming D'Amato, the Iran, the Libya -- the Europeans have been stressing, and even Jacques Santer is claiming some success in the wording of the Communique. How concerned is Japan? Canada is also very uptight about it. Where does Japan stand on this?
A: I was briefed by my colleague that there was a lively discussion today over the working luncheon over the Helms-Burton Act and the D'Amato Bill. Prime Minister Hashimoto did not specifically explain to his colleagues the Japanese position. Having said so, I will explain to you the fundamental position of the Government of Japan, because it has been expressed several times to the Clinton Administration. As a matter of principle, we have many reservations, principled reservations about extraterritoriality of a domestic law to the outside countries. We think that it is against international law. However, we very much appreciate the difficulties which the United States faces, for example, with Cuba. Basically, we say that this issue should be settled between the United States and Cuba. At the same time, if you talk about our policy with Cuba, we on our own are endeavoring to relay our position to the Government of Cuba -- that the Cuban Government should observe human rights and democratization efforts should be needed.
Possible IMF gold sales
Q: Earlier today, Chancellor Kohl of Germany said that Japan had moved closer to Germany's position on IMF gold sales -- namely one of stated opposition. Could you comment on that please?
A: Are you talking about the Morning Session of the Summiteers?
A: I understand that, in the Morning Session, they talked about --. If I remember rightly, Prime Minister Hashimoto did not touch on that subject this morning. Or what I can tell you is --.
Q: Perhaps the question is where does Japan stand on that issue at this point?
A: I do not have the notes of the Morning Session, because I have already relayed the points of the Morning Session. I explained to the journalists who came to my morning briefing that Prime Minister Hashimoto touched on several subjects; but this gold sales was not included. Therefore, I cannot say whether what you said is correct or not. Regardless, what I can say is that we made a consensus about the phrase in this regard. That one is included in the Economic Declaration. In any case, we understand that the IMF is going to study and finalize its proposal at this coming September meeting.
Meeting on employment to be hosted in Japan
Q: Can you give us any idea what kind of subjects would be discussed at the employment meeting that Japan would host? I understand you cannot give me that much detail, but what sort of things do you think would come up there?
A: Japan has begun to face an increasing problem about employment. We very much appreciate the last Lille Ministerial Meeting on employment. Only once to have a meeting is not a solution to the problem, and we are happy to continue to exchange views on this. So, this time, we would like to host the meeting in Japan. But at the same time, when Prime Minister Hashimoto proposed his Initiative for a Caring World this morning, the other summiteers said that the issue of job creation in the small- and medium-sized sectors is also important, and probably, the G-7 countries can address the issue by various means. One is to ask the Sherpas to further elaborate the issue and find out how to tackle the issue of welfare. Prime Minister Hashimoto, in this connection, stressed the importance of hosting this conference having in mind that his idea on welfare also can be discussed at this meeting. That is what I understood from his statement. But further, I am sorry, I do not have any information at this moment.
United Nations reform
Q: On United Nations reform, has Japan set any limit to its assessed contributions? For example, at the end of 1996, when the United States leaves UNIDO, will Japanese contributions be increased beyond the current average of 14%? That is the first question, and I would like to ask another one.
A: What I understand is that the Foreign Minister did not touch on the subject of Japan's contributions to the United Nations this time. But, the Government of Japan is of the view that those countries which have not yet paid their contributions should do so as soon as possible.
Q: But you haven't set, for example, the Americans, who, in 1972, reduced their contributions from 33% to 25%, and who are now saying that it should be a maximum of 15% or 20%.
A: You are talking about the special contributions for PKO?
Q: No, just generally. The assessed contributions, the legal ones, so to speak.
A: I see; I am terribly sorry. I do not have the material to refer to.
The Northern Territories issue
Q: The second question. The four islands north of Hokkaido which were occupied by the Soviets since 1945 -- has there been any progress made with Russia in the last few years? If not, do you expect some to be made if Yeltsin is reelected? Do you expect a peace treaty to be signed before the year 2000?
A: When President Yeltsin visited Japan in 1993, the two leaders issued a very important political declaration. It is called the Tokyo Declaration. The Government of the Russian Federation, for the first time admitted the existence of the Northern Territories issue, and the two Governments decided to apply law and justice to solve the issue. Since that time, we have been talking with Russia on this issue. When Prime Minister Hashimoto met with President Yeltsin in Moscow last April, both leaders decided to hold at first, a deputy foreign ministerial level talk, and on the basis of this, they decided to hold a ministerial meeting. All of these will be held after the presidential election. So, we cannot say when, but sometime after the end of the presidential election, we will contact them once again and set up a date for the talks on this. We understand that this is a very difficult issue; however, already, fifty years have passed since the end of the Second World War, and we shouldn't leave this matter unrealized for a long time. So, we hope that the new Government in Russia will be ready to wind up the talks with us.
Q: Has there been any plan to call in a third party mediator such as the United States?
A: I do not think so because the two countries now have the joint Tokyo Declaration. We can rely on this. With this, we can solve this issue bilaterally.
Election of the Secretary-General of the United Nations
Q: You said earlier that Japan has not made a decision on its position on a second term for Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali at the United Nations, but I wonder -- was Japan very strongly in favor of the section of the Joint Communique today that suggests having a new position of Deputy Secretary-General. Does Japan strongly favor that move, or did Japan agree to it on the basis of that move being strongly favored by other G-7 partners?
A: I am sorry to admit my ignorance. I am sorry, I did not pay attention to the particular clause on this.
Q: Are you familiar with the clause of the joint declaration that says, we think there should be restructuring of the United Nations so that development agencies come under one consolidated department, and that there be a new position created of Deputy Secretary-General?
A: While we have been supporting the streamlining of United Nations organizations, which you mentioned, I am not aware whether Japan is going to present a candidate for a Deputy Secretary-General or not.
Q: Does Japan strongly support the idea of creating this post?
A: Japan has been advocating streamlining the duplicated organizations under the United Nations. So, we are happy about this. But, what, in the past, I have emphasized is that it is not sufficient for us to streamline the organization; it is not sufficient for us to cut the budget. If we can save money from streamlining, or realigning, or restructuring -- especially the United Nations activities in the social and economic fields, we should reinvest the saved money to other appropriate areas, such as development assistance. We are very happy that our position is well reflected in the Economic Declaration which was issued several hours ago.
Q: In the international press in the last two months, among the candidates proposed for U.N. Secretary-General has been your excellent High Commissioner for Refugees Sakako Ogata. Is there any official move at all to back such a person as a candidate, or some of your other able women, like Mayumi Moriyama, the former deputy foreign minister. Has the Government taken a position on that at all -- to propose them as the next Secretary-General of the United Nations?
A: Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali just announced his candidacy for a second term as Secretary-General, and we have not taken up any position on this. We are carefully studying and exchanging information with our colleagues. Thank you very much.
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