March 15, 2011

The G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting was held in Paris on 14–15 March, with Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto in attendance from Japan.

At the beginning of the meeting, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé (G8 Chairman) expressed his sympathy and condolences to Japan for the extensive damage the country and its people suffered in the earthquake that occurred on 11 March. Minister Matsumoto expressed his gratitude for the sympathies conveyed and the offers of support from many countries, and stated that:

  1. (a) even for Japan as an earthquake-prone country the recent earthquake and tsunami were of an unprecedented scale beyond all imagination and have resulted in an extremely large amount of damage and loss of life;
  2. (b) the Japanese government is making utmost efforts on rebuilding activities; and
  3. (c) he wished to overcome this tremendous disaster through the strength of the Japanese people and the cooperation of foreign countries.

He also gave an explanation that covered the latest situation regarding the current state of the nuclear power plant accident brought on by the earthquake and tsunami and the measures being taken, stating that Japan is handling the wholly unanticipated situation with a sense of vigilance.

The foreign ministers also discussed the following issues:

  1. (1) Libya and the Middle East;
  2. (2) Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, including North Korea; and
  3. (3) Africa.
  1. (1) Concerning the situation in Libya, the ministers agreed to increase pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi and his officials and to continue discussing effective responses at the United Nations Security Council and other venues. With regard to the situation in the broader Middle East and North Africa, ministers expressed their intent to support the holding of fair elections in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as their concerns about the current stalemate in the Middle East Peace Process. Minister Matsumoto concurred with the importance of pursuing freedom and democracy, presented examples of Asian countries that have experience of gradual transitions to democracy through growth, and noted the importance for democracy to lead to political stability.
  2. (2) In the area of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, Minister Matsumoto stated that in order to promote global disarmament amid the continuing advancement of follow-up on the NPT Review Conference of May 2010, Japan formed a cross-regional group of non-nuclear-weapon states and is continuing efforts to propose realistic solutions toward mitigating nuclear risks. Concerning North Korea, Minister Matsumoto requested other countries' support and expressed Japan's intent to maintain persistent efforts toward comprehensive resolution of the outstanding issues of concern, including abductions as well as nuclear and missile development. He also pointed out the necessity of steady implementation of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions in a concerted manner by the international community. He further pointed out that North Korea needs to demonstrate, through concrete actions, its will to fulfill its promises heretofore in a serious manner. The Chairman's Summary for the meeting expressly condemns North Korea's uranium enrichment activities as a violation of Security Council Resolutions. Regarding Iran, Minister Matsumoto stated that the dual-track approach of dialogue and pressure remains valid, and that Japan intends to support the efforts of the EU3+3.
  3. (3) As regards Africa, Minister Matsumoto described Japan's promotion of Africa's development, consolidation of peace, advancement of good governance, and other aspects of the TICAD process, emphasizing human resources development. He also stated that Japan is cooperating in the strengthening of judicial capabilities for countries surrounding Somalia through its contributions to a related trust fund as an anti-piracy measure.

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