Welcome Address by Dr. Kiyohiko Toyama
Vice Minister (Parliamentary) for Foreign Affairs of Japan
Foreign Policy and Energy Security Seminar,
1 March 2006, Tokyo, Japan
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to make an opening address this morning on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I am very grateful that we are holding a "Foreign Policy and Energy Security Seminar" today. First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt welcome to the four of the distinguished energy experts as guest speakers coming all the way from Russia, China, International Energy Agency and Cambridge Energy Research Associates. I would also like to welcome all the participants from the leading companies, energy-related organizations and institutes, the press, as well as embassies in Tokyo.
Japan's energy self-sufficiency ratio is a mere 16%. This remains so even if nuclear energy is included. We should take this into account when considering Japan's foreign policy. Indeed for us, to secure energy supply is deemed inseparable from protecting national security.
Based on this recognition, first of all, Japan has made efforts to keep good relationships with both energy producing and consuming countries. As energy markets in the world are integrated gradually, maintaining the market stability is all the more important, again for both producers and consumers. Herein comes an importance of dialogues between the two, which Japan also promotes. China, India, and Russia remain some of the important partners for Japan to talk to in this part of the world.
Secondly, Japan has made considerable efforts to achieve sustainable development through the development and promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, environmental-friendly clean technologies and renewable energy such as solar. In the 1950's and 1960's the Japanese underwent environmental degradations and not so long ago in the 1970's abrupt crises in energy supply, and yet managed to overcome each one of those, coming out as a lean nation.
Were we to say a marginal addition of a unit of GDP would consume one further unit of energy in Japan. Then in OECD nations it would take two, and for the world on average that would be three. Furthermore Japan is among the best in terms of CO2 emission thanks to the clean technologies the nation has devoted to developing since the low point in the 1970s. Japan intends to cooperate with developing countries by providing such technologies, sharing best practices, assisting institution building as well as human resource development.
For example, in China we have extended technical assistance for clean coal and energy conservation as well as financial assistance for environment-friendly natural gas plant. In India and South East Asia, we have cooperated in constructing energy efficient power plants and forest preservation. I believe that to maintain and strengthen Japan's cooperation in these areas will benefit not only the region but also the world at large.
Thirdly, as a Japanese proverb would say, "the forewarned is forearmed". Hence we fully support IEA's collective action taken by the member countries to release the stockpiled oil to keep international oil market stable. Last year, facing possible negative impact on international oil market caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, IEA members took this collective action and contributed to the stabilization of the market. We should work for smoother operation of this collective action in case of emergency.
With the rise in demand and price in crude oil of late, energy security looms yet larger as an issue for the international community. At the beginning of this year, European countries were very much concerned with their gas supply, facing the dispute between Russia and Ukraine concerning the natural gas transaction. Another issue which has been the source of a grave concern to the international community is the nuclear development issue in Iran. Iran is a major source of global energy with world's second largest oil reserve, making itself the third largest oil exporter for Japan. As such, the international community is seriously concerned about the recent development in the Iranian nuclear issue. And so is Japan, thus taking every opportunity to convince Iran that it should not deal with the nuclear issue in a way that would result in isolating itself from the rest of the world.
These events illustrate that energy markets are getting more integrated and energy security has become important element in foreign policy making. I believe that enhancing global energy security is high on agenda. Every member of the international community should make further effort individually and collectively to address this global agenda.
Russia is one of the largest energy producing countries in the world, and, as this year's G8 chair, has chosen global energy security as one of the main themes of St. Petersburg Summit Meeting. The total energy consumption of three (3) major consuming countries in Asia, namely Japan, China and India occupies approximately 20 % in the world. In China and India, energy demands have been increasing rapidly as their economy and population show remarkable growth. Compared with Japan, the primary energy consumption per one GDP unit in Russia is 20 times larger, and 10 times larger in China or India. Therefore, improvement of energy efficiency and preservation of environment are key policy issues not only for them but also for us. Energy policies in Russia, China and India affect very much the world energy security, including that of Japan. Therefore, while making full understanding of such policies, Japan intends, as explained earlier, to make efforts to strengthen dialogues, cooperation in technologies for energy conservation and energy efficiency, and emergency measures so that the international cooperation is promoted.
Under these circumstances, I believe that it is timely to hold a seminar on foreign policy and energy situation and energy security policies of Russia, China and India. I am looking forward to a lively and frank discussion among all participants, prompted by keynote presentations by the panelists. Through such exchanges of different views, we could have better ideas about how we will place energy security issues in our foreign policies.
I would like to express my gratitude again to the four of the energy experts coming all the way to Tokyo. I also hope that this seminar will be very informative and fruitful for all participants.
Thank you very much for your attention.
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