Press Conference by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi Following the G8 Summit
July 17, 2006
- Opening Statement
- Question on North Korea's missile launches
- Question on Japan's self-defense
- Question on the Middle East situation
- Question on the Pipeline Project
- Question on Koizumi diplomacy
PRIME MINISTER JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI: I am most gratified to have been able to visit again this beautiful city of St. Petersburg, this city from which President Putin wields. This is my first visit in about three years. I was able to have very candid exchange of views with my colleagues. Especially last evening our working dinner ended around 11 pm and as we came back to our cottage, beyond the horizon off the shore I could see the sun set and at 11 pm we saw the burning sun as the sun set, the orange sky and the dark sky. I was most impressed. Amidst the tough international situation we had an exchange among the G8 leaders on views on international circumstances. President Putin as the Chair of the gathering exercised outstanding chairmanship in steering our discussions and putting together our views on these difficult matters.
Ahead of the Summit this time I visited Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. I met with Prime Minister Olmert, President Abbas, and His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan. At the Summit this time we had major discussions on the ongoing situation in Lebanon and Israel, the difficult situation there, and the Middle East. We had a good discussion, as the G8 leaders have been able to come out with one voice on the Middle East situation, regarding the future, and recognized the need of the international community to work together. The goal of the Middle East Peace Process is for the Israelis and Palestinians to exist and prosper side-by-side. Of course there are difficulties, and situations in each party vary, but Japan wishes to provide as much cooperation as possible.
With regard to North Korea's missile issue, it became a major issue before the Summit. Fortunately, however, the United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution was adopted unanimously and I think this is of great importance. At the G8 Summit as well, we discussed this matter and we were able to come out with a clear-cut message to the North Koreans. The nuclear issue, the missile issue, and the abduction issue--to resolve all these issues we saw eye-to-eye that international coordination is necessary.
Around the world oil prices are rising and now they are above 70 dollars per barrel. So we had discussions on energy security as well. Japan is extremely dependent on importation of energy. With that background we have tried to achieve both energy security and also preservation of the natural environment. I introduced the experience of Japan in energy conservation and biomass and environmental protection need to be emphasized as we try to achieve energy security.
Toward the conclusion of the Doha Round trade negotiations before the end of the year we all agreed that the coming one month would be extremely important. All of us need to try to yield to each other. At this moment this attitude is hard to come by. However, many expressed their strong view that this round needs to be brought to a successful conclusion. The G8 agreed that we together should try to work for the protection of intellectual properties.
On Africa, infectious diseases, the problem of various diseases, Dr. Hideyo Noguchi, Japan's eminent medical doctor, engaged in research on yellow fever and amidst that research lost his life 80 years ago in Ghana. In commemoration of his achievements I have come up with a proposal to launch the Hideyo Noguchi Award to recognize the contributions of the people, the researchers who are making hard efforts in Africa in the research of these diseases.
I also had bilateral meetings on the wings of the Summit and had a discussion on the future of our bilateral relations with President Putin and agreed that we shall continue to cooperate to further our bilateral relations. More than ever before in the economic area as well as in other areas we have seen advances in our bilateral relations between Japan and Russia. We will be able to through our efforts resolve the territorial issue thereby concluding a peace treaty, we should be able to enjoy further development, so we agreed to put the right environment for that.
Over the past two days I was able to exchange views with the leaders of various countries on various challenges and issues. I only deepened my recognition that domestic and foreign policies are interconnected. So as a major member of the international community, in the interest of the development of the international community, I felt that Japan needs to do its utmost.
I am most grateful to President Putin as well as the people of the Russian Federation for their very warm hospitality, my deepest gratitude. Thank you very much.
QUESTION: The UN Security Council has come out with a message to North Korea. I believe the North Koreans have shown resentment and do not seem to accept it. How do you take their reaction? Also, as Japan loses means to engage in direct talks with North Korea, how do you wish to draw the North Koreans out to the negotiating table of the Six-Party Talks?
PRIME MINISTER JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI: With regard to North Korea's missile launches this time, all countries at the UN Security Council adopted unanimously the resolution and I think this is of great importance. I believe the North Koreans did not expect that there should be such a unanimous adoption, including the P5 inclusive of China and Russia. I think this is a very important fact and I hope that the North Koreans will seriously accept this. We have not shut our doors to the North Koreans. We are encouraging the North Koreans to come back to the Six-Party Talks. In that framework we are proposing that we discuss North Korea's security and its future development. Becoming a responsible member of the international community will be beneficial to North Korea for its own development and to ensure their security today. That is the position that we have been sending to the North Koreans from time to time. Also in the UN Security Council resolution and also at the G8 Summit here, in a very clear-cut manner we were able to send out a message. I hope that the North Koreans will accept this message sincerely and return to the Six-Party Talks as early as possible. I understand that the North Koreans are hoping for bilateral talks with the United States (US) but I believe that will become possible in various ways and manners by returning to the Six-Party Talks- even behind the scenes. Japan can also utilize various means and in coordination with the other countries concerned, especially since the North Koreans are desirous of bilateral talks with the US. Japan and the US, by cooperating with each other, will make sure that the North Koreans will not go off the rails and behave in a responsible manner, and will strenuously try to encourage them to behave that way. I believe that the message sent out by the UN Security Council and the G8 Summit here will be of extreme importance.
QUESTION: Could you please say a few words about the statements in the press that Japan is going to use the situation in North Korea in order to significantly strengthen its military potential and to change its military doctrine as a result of this?
PRIME MINISTER JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI: Are we going to strengthen our military by making use of North Korea's missile launch this time? I think that is the purport of the question. At all times Japan firmly engages and must engage in efforts to ensure its own safety and security. That said, as a pacifist nation Japan over the years has never exercised force outside of Japan's borders. In Samawah, Iraq, the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) troops, in a respectable manner, completed their mission and have been redeployed from Samawah; I received that report today. Their action in Iraq, the Self-Defense Force (SDF) members, without triggering a shot, without turning their gun on anyone, engaged in humanitarian and assistance activities. They are to be redeployed while their contribution is highly regarded. Our stance is for exclusive self-defense. We certainly need to maintain a necessary, appropriate level of deterrence so that we will not lead other countries to misunderstand that we shall not even fight back when attacked. Yet we do not have unnecessary intention to conduct preemptive strikes against other countries. We wish to secure this security policy firmly, within the framework of the Japan-US alliance. With regard to North Korea's missile launches this time, we shall maintain the right deterrence so that we will not mislead other countries, I believe that is necessary.
QUESTION: Ahead of the Summit in St. Petersburg you visited the Middle East and proposed the Corridor for Peace and Prosperity Initiative to realize Middle East peace. However, because of the Israeli attacks in Lebanon the Middle East situation has been very grave. I wonder how you intend to address the Middle East situation in the days ahead. This I believe was the sixth attendance for you as the prime minister of Japan to the G8 Summit, the most frequent amongst the Japanese prime ministers and I believe you stated that this will be your last attendance at the G8. How do you review your foreign policy?
PRIME MINISTER JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI: Before coming to St. Petersburg I visited Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. When I met with Prime Minister Olmert of Israel, I said that as far as Japan is concerned we are thinking about how best we can support Israel and Palestine to exist and prosper side-by-side. I believe Japan can support Israel and Palestine in a manner different than the Europeans and Americans. Specifically, there is this Jordan valley and we would like to contribute to the establishment of the foundation of everyday life; that is sought by everyone--the Israelis, the Palestinians, and the Jordanians. I suggested that Japan is prepared to support that sort of program, and Prime Minister Olmert said he was fully in agreement with that. Prime Minister Olmert said he was supportive of that idea. President Abbas also spoke in a similar manner that President Abbas would also be supportive of that idea. So at an appropriate time I suggested that Japan, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan, at the high official level of government will come together to discuss what sort of specific projects would be required, in other words our suggestion is that we get down to specific discussions. We are faced with a serious situation and a very complex situation between Israel and Palestine and Lebanon, and therefore, I thought this sort of project would be very difficult. King Abdullah of Jordan was of the view that it is because of this serious situation that it is best that we launch this sort of project as early as possible, Japan, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan together. Everyone says they wish to promote this sort of project as early as possible. So without being discouraged by the current circumstances as Japan is concerned we shall start concrete consultations amongst high officials of the parties concerned as early as possible, and I have the concurrence of the parties concerned.
This is my sixth G8 Summit, my last. The question I think was how I rate my own diplomacy to date. Rather than for me to assess my own diplomacy I will leave it to you to assess how I fared. It is better for me not to assess my own diplomacy.
QUESTION: Do you think that the participation of Japan in the construction of an oil pipeline in East Siberia to the Pacific Ocean, do you think this is a necessary precondition to ensure energy security of the countries of the Pacific region? Thank you very much.
PRIME MINISTER JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI: That is a question related to oil development in East Siberia, and I believe that particularly relates to the Pacific pipeline. Japan and Russia have agreed to engage in cooperation that will be beneficial to both countries. I believe cooperation between businessmen concerned will be necessary and government-to-government cooperation will be necessary, and I am sure there will be various exchanges that will transpire between our two countries. This is a very important matter for our two countries. So government-to-government cooperation and private sector cooperation in various ways and fields I believe will become necessary.
The overall Japan-Russia relations, this is a major challenge so I would like to hear out the views of both parties and proceed with the project in a manner that will be beneficial to both parties. I believe I saw eye-to-eye on this matter with President Putin.
QUESTION: Mr. Prime Minister earlier you have said that it should be left to others to assess or evaluate your diplomacy, that was my first question of interest but I will change my question. What did your diplomacy seek at all times and what sort of change do you think the Koizumi diplomacy has brought to Japan?
PRIME MINISTER JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI: What I had on my mind all the time was that diplomacy is to fulfill Japan's responsibility on the international stage and to bring benefits to the Japanese people. Our economy, agriculture, fisheries, security, medicine, infectious diseases and what not, international challenges are directly connected to domestic challenges. There are various differences of views within Japan on various matters, but bearing those differences in mind there are various issues on which Japan needs to cooperate on the international stage where Japan can make contributions. I really felt that overseas issues are directly connected to domestic challenges, and I have stated my views on the international stage while listening to the views of others. There are more than 190 members in the world, and be it the G8, the meeting we had today, leaders of only ten countries or so got together. This is because the international community recognizes Japan's role on the international stage and for Japan to fulfill that major responsibility on the international stage, I think, will be beneficial to the Japanese people at the end of the day. At the same time since I am representing Japan I shall always have to bear in mind the development and the future of Japan as a nation. I believe I have borne in mind both aspects. How I did in that respect is for other people to assess.
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