Outline of Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers Meeting

12 September 2000
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

I. Date and Venue

Time: Approximately 18:00-19:00, 11 September 2000 (U.S. Eastern Standard Time)
Venue: Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York

Attendees representing Japan side: Mr. Shunji Yanai, Ambassador of Japan to the United States of America; Mr. Yukio Satoh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations; and others.

Attendees representing the United States: Mr. Thomas S. Foley, U.S. Ambassador to Japan; Mr. Richard Holbrooke, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations; and others.

II. Outline of the Meeting

Focusing on the international situation, five points were brought up for discussion: 1. Russia, 2. nuclear arms reduction and non-proliferation, 3. reform of the United Nations, 4. Myanmar, and 5. whaling for research purposes. (Discussions on China and the situation on the Korean Peninsula were discussed on the morning of 11 September in the Security Consultative Committee ("2+2") meeting.)

1. Russia

Minister for Foreign Affairs Yohei Kono informed Secretary of State Madeleine Albright of the exchange of opinions that took place between the Japanese and Russian leaders during the September 3-5 visit to Japan of Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation. Foreign Minister Kono explained that President Putin had acknowledged the existence of the territorial issue and had expressed his willingness to continue negotiations based on various agreements to date. The Russian side also stated that it was not in full agreement with the claims of the Japanese Government, which focus on a border demarcation to the north of the "Four Islands." In addition, Foreign Minister Kono noted that the leaders had signed a statement concerning a peace treaty, acknowledging that the peace treaty should be formulated based on prior agreements between the two countries, and upon the resolution of the issue of the sovereignty of the four islands. He also stated that negotiations are to continue.

2. Nuclear Arms Reduction and Non-Proliferation

Foreign Minister Kono indicated that it was Japan's intention to submit a draft of a new resolution concerning the total elimination of nuclear weapons, in order to pave the way to the realization of a nuclear-free world, and asked for the support of the United States on this matter. Secretary Albright replied that the U.S. is examining the Japanese proposal.

3. Reform of the United Nations

  1. Foreign Minister Kono expressed his desire to realize by the end of the year a more balanced assessment rate concerning the U.N.'s regular budget and asked for the cooperation of the United States. He also pointed out that Japan considers it necessary to carry out a comprehensive review of the assessment rate for peace-keeping operations (PKO). Foreign Minister Kono noted that 99 of the 185 leaders who spoke at the Millennium Summit pointed out the urgent need to proceed with Security Council reform.
  2. Secretary Albright replied that, from the perspective of maintaining the sustainability of the organization, the United States also considers the issue of U.N. reform to be vitally important. On the subject of Security Council reform, she noted that during her tenure as Ambassador to the United Nations she had spent a great deal of time considering this issue, and she further stated that the United States fully supported Japan's permanent membership of the Security Council. She expressed the hope that these Foreign Minister level talks would be followed by deliberations between Ambassadors Sato and Holbrooke.

4. Myanmar

  1. Secretary Albright noted that Japan and the United States had discussed this issue many times previously, and requested that Japan make an appropriate response, in light of the recent deterioration of the situation concerning Aung San Suu Kyi.
  2. Foreign Minister Kono replied that the restrictions on the movements of Aung San Suu Kyi by the Government of Myanmar were regrettable and that she should be released without further delay. He added that the Japanese Ambassador to Myanmar had been instructed to demarche the government on this issue, and pointed out the importance of supporting the role played by UN Special Envoy for Myanmar Razali Ismail in attempting to solve the situation. Foreign Minister Kono noted that on the basis of the U.S. views concerning Myanmar, Japan would consider new ways in which to fully communicate its position to the Government of Myanmar.
  3. Secretary Albright then pointed out the significant influence of Japan in Asia and asked for its cooperation in this matter.

5. Whaling for Research Purposes

  1. Secretary Albright said that she had been greatly disappointed that Japan had expanded the types of whale species it would catch, despite the fact that the subject had been raised in prior Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers Meetings. Secretary Albright added that the United States is currently examining the situation based on the Fishermen's Protective Act of 1967, at 22 U.S.C. 1978 (The Pelly Amendment), and other domestic laws, and she requested that Japan reconsider its research program.
  2. In response, Foreign Minister Kono noted that Japan's whale research is based upon the provisions of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, and as such is lawful and purely for scientific purposes. He added that the population of the targeted whale species is plentiful, and that this issue should be solved through dispassionate discussion. He noted that if the United States were to impose sanctions, Japan would respond in accordance with international law.

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