Message by Mr. Ryuji Yamane, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan on the Occasion of the Twentieth Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union
January 26, 2012
Your Excellency Foreign Minister Pastor Micha Ondo Bile, Chairperson of the Executive Council of the African Union,
Your Excellency Dr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union
Honorable Ministers and Heads of Delegation,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me express my heartfelt congratulations on the Twentieth Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union.
With its growing presence as an economic frontier following Asia, Africa has become a "continent of hope and opportunity". I am delighted to have the honor to see you on that continent.
It has almost been a year since Japan was struck by an unprecedented earthquake last March. Since then, we have received generous words of sympathy and support amounting to more than 20 million dollars from various African countries, and I would like to express our profound gratitude. The people of your country, many of them suffering from various difficulties themselves, have also kindly come to encourage us and extend us assistance. The government and the people of Japan have been deeply touched and encouraged by this warmth of our African friends. We are committed to devoting ourselves to the recovery and restoration of the nation in response to the solidarity you have shown us, and will continue to promote intensively Japan's relations with Africa
(Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V))
It is now determined and announced that TICAD V will be held in Yokohama, Japan from June 1 to 3, 2013.
TICAD V will be held in the 20th anniversary year of the TICAD process, which was commenced in 1993, and will be the first meeting which has the African Union Commission as its co-organizer. Japan aims to make this Conference an opportunity to launch new directions for the development of Africa, reflecting recent drastic changes around this continent.
I would like to ask for your positive cooperation for the success of TICAD V. Especially, the participation of heads of state or government is kindly requested.
On the occasion of the TICAD V, we will hold the award ceremony for the second Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize, honoring individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions in fight against infectious and other diseases in Africa.
(Fourth TICAD Ministerial Follow-up Meeting)
Ahead of TICAD V, on May 5 and 6 this year in Morocco, we will hold the next TICAD Ministerial Follow-up Meeting that has been held in Africa every year since TICAD IV in 2008. The coming meeting will be the last Follow-up Meeting before TICAD V and will also be the very starting point for the preparation process of TICAD V prior to the Ministerial Preparatory Meeting to be held next year. We would appreciate the presence of the honorable Ministers in charge from each of your countries.
3. Japan's Policy toward Africa
(Three Pillars of Japan's Policy toward Africa)
In 2012, which is the preparation period for TICAD V, Japan will further promote active diplomacy toward Africa, focusing on the three pillars—"contributing to peace and stability," "expanding development assistance, trade and investment," and "addressing global issues."
(Contributing to peace and stability)
Japan considers that peace and stability are the basis for everything, and welcomes recent increasing moves toward democratization and political stability in Africa. However, we are deeply concerned about serious threats to the peace of the nations and the safety of their people, as seen in the unstable situations in Sudan, South Sudan, the Horn of Africa, and elsewhere, political turmoil at the time of presidential elections, and terrorist attacks that deprive many people of their lives. The Government of Japan has been endeavoring to contribute to the establishment of peace and stability in these areas.
Japan has started to dispatch its Self Defense Forces to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) in the newly independent nation. Furthermore, Japan has been offering support for facilitating negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan and for helping them consolidate peace in both nations.
For Somalia, where fighting continues, Japan has been extending cooperation to stabilize the situation in this country, such as support to strengthen security capacity of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as well as offering humanitarian aid. At the same time, we are taking countermeasures against piracy of Somalia through such effort as anti-piracy activities in the Gulf of Aden.
Japan will also continue providing assistance for PKO training centers in Africa.
(Expanding development assistance, trade and investment)
Africa, now attracting the expectations and attention of the international society as a "continent of hope and opportunity," has increasingly exerted its presence as an economic frontier following Asia. Japan actively promotes its development assistance centered on the TICAD process and at the same time sees Africa as its business partner. From this point of view, Japan dispatched joint missions for promoting trade and investment in Africa, with the participation of many private companies, five times to various regions in Africa. I myself visited Sudan, South Sudan, and Kenya as the head of the mission last October and keenly felt the significant potential of the continent.
(Addressing global issues)
Based on strong ties between Japan and African countries, Japan would also like to address global issues jointly with Africa.
Regarding the issue of climate change, based on the outcome of the COP 17, Japan will actively contribute to the international discussion toward the establishment of a future framework and will continue to emphasize assistance to vulnerable countries including African countries. We will also establish "African Green Growth Strategy" during this year to lead to TICAD V next year.
In order to realize reform of the United Nations Security council, we believe it indispensable for all UN member countries to have flexible attitudes, deepen mutual understanding through transparent opinion exchange, and find realistic reforms by overcoming differences. Japan is determined to discuss with African countries on how we can realize reform in a realistic way.
4. Deepening of Japan-AU Relationship
In order to promote relationships with Africa in this manner, Japan places importance on the African Union, which has been increasing its presence in Africa, and proactively supports its activities. This results in the fact that Japanese political senior officials have attended five AU Executive Councils consecutively and the AU Commission has become a TICAD co-organizer.
In the field of peace and security, for example, Japan offers assistance to the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), which copes with the issues between Sudan and South Sudan, and the conflicts in Darfur.
In the field of development, Japan is having necessary consultations in concrete terms to assume the position of the Lead Thematic Partner (LTP) of the Eastern Pan-African University (PAU) under the PAU initiative. In addition, Japan has started specific consideration on assistance to introduce a Japanese-style "Kaizen" program to the AU Commission for improving its productivity.
I believe that Africa is not only the place of origin of human beings but also the key for the future of all of us. The year 2012, expecting TICAD V in the following year, will be of great importance for the future of Japan and Africa. For Japan, this year will also be the period to overcome the disaster and leap towards a further development with the support of the international community including Africa. And for Africa, the year of 2012 will be the period in which it will advance, overcoming the difficulties faced during 2011, such as political turmoil, famine in the Horn of Africa, etc. Lastly, I would like to emphasize that Japan strongly wishes to further deepen ties and solidarity with Africa, the existence of which we came to realize once again through the disaster and to jointly advance toward future with Africa.
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