The Visit to Africa and the United Kingdom of Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Yoshitaka Sakurada
(Outline and Significance)
13 April 2001
1. Visit to South Africa
- Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Yoshitaka Sakurada visited the Republic of South Africa from Saturday 31 March to Sunday 1 April.
- Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada exchanged views on Japan's policy toward Africa and global issues with Deputy Director-General for Foreign Affairs Abdul Minty in Pretoria, the capital. He then had talks with executives from the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industries in South Africa in addition to visiting Soweto (formerly South Africa's largest township).
- As follow up to Prime Minister Mori's visit to South Africa, this visit was significant in that it confirmed the South African Government's high evaluation of Prime Minister Mori's visit to African nations. Furthermore, it achieved substantial progress on such matters as cooperation on the Millennium African Recovery Programme (a development plan drawn up by Africa itself).
- Based on the agreement between Prime Minister Mori and President Thabo Mbeki of the Republic of South Africa that both countries should unite efforts as a "bridge between North and South" in addressing global issues, Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada and Deputy Director-General for Foreign Affairs Minty, responsible for Multilateral Affairs for South Africa, held in-depth discussion on far-reaching issues, including the G8 process, human security, environmental issues and the World Conference Against Racism to be held in South Africa in August. They confirmed that both countries should enhance their partnership as a "bridge between North and South" with respect to all of these issues.
2. Visit to Kenya
- Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada visited the Republic of Kenya from Sunday 1 to Tuesday 3 April.
- On the morning of 3 April in Nairobi, the capital, Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada met with President Daniel arap Moi of the Republic of Kenya at the State House. In the evening of 1 April when he arrived, Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada met Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, who was visiting Kenya, at the Windsor Country Club. Furthermore, in Nairobi and its neighboring areas, Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada visited sites of Japanese technical cooperation programs (including the National Museum of Kenya and the Kenya Medical Research Institute) and a site where a Japanese non-governmental organization (NGO) is active (Matumaini Children's Home), and he also had talks with Japanese nationals residing in Kenya, including people involved in technical cooperation such as Japanese experts and Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers.
- In the morning of 2 April, Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada visited Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwest Kenya where he observed the camp's hospital, primary school and other facilities. At the primary school he gave boxes of stationery products to the children, including pencils that had been collected in Japan through an inter-ministerial Parliamentary Secretary conference. In Nairobi on the morning of 3 April, Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada attended a presentation ceremony of an ambulance and stationery for school children at the Kakuma Refugee Camp, where he gave a speech explaining this donation and other issues.
- This visit is primarily designated as follow up to Prime Minister Mori's visit to Kenya in January 2001. The continuation and deepening of political dialogue with President Moi, the visit to the Kakuma Refugee Camp and attendance at the presentation ceremony of an ambulance and stationery to the Camp motivated by Prime Minister Mori's visit, illustrated Japan's position regarding its approach to the issue of African refugees.
- Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada visited sites of Japanese technical cooperation programs where Japanese experts and Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers are active, taking the opportunity during these talks to conduct a meaningful exchange of views.
- Moreover, he had a substantive exchange of views with Secretary-General Annan, who was visiting Kenya, on a range of matters including Japan's foreign policy toward Africa and the necessity of Security Council reforms. Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada also restated Japan's support for his reelection as Secretary-General.
3. Visit to Tanzania
- Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada visited the United Republic of Tanzania from Tuesday 3 to Wednesday 4 April.
- Immediately following his arrival at Dar es Salaam on 3 April, Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada visited and observed the Temeke District Youth Center in Dar es Salaam City belonging to the Tanzania Family Planning Association (known as UMATI), Tanzania's largest NGO. He also received an explanation from a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer working at the Center regarding activities for educating and promoting mother and child health care for poor residents.
- Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada also exchanged views with 14 representatives of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers working in Tanzania, enabling him to hear directly the opinions of volunteers engaged in various activities across Tanzania, such as the preparation of a text book written on construction engineering, teaching mathematics and science, working as librarians, youth issues, rehabilitation of psychiatric patients and judo.
- Furthermore, Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada visited and toured the Tanzania National Museum, which houses one of the world's foremost collections of artifacts, including fossils of Zinjanthropus koisei, where he represented the Government of Japan at a presentation ceremony of Japanese Cultural Grant Aid-based equipment and materials for use in the museum's exhibitions.
- On 4 April, Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada met with President Benjamin William Mkapa in Arusha, a town in northern Tanzania, and Prime Minister Frederic Tluway Sumaye and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete in Dodoma where Tanzania's parliament is located. Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada had an exchange of views across all areas of Japan-Tanzania relations at a luncheon hosted by Prime Minister Sumaye.
- In view of the fact that Prime Minister Mori was unable to visit Tanzania during his visit to African nations in January, this visit was extremely significant in that it enabled Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada to explain Japan's basic foreign policy on Africa and directly convey to Tanzania's leaders that Japan is attaching importance to Tanzania.
- The extensive welcome of Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada's visit by Tanzania Government leaders, including President Mkapa, Prime Minister Sumaye and Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Kikwete showed that such a posture by Japan contributed significantly to furthering friendly relations between the two countries.
- Furthermore, Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada visited sites engaged in Japanese economic cooperation and offered encouragement to those involved. He also took the opportunity of these visits to have a meaningful exchange of views.
4. Visit to the United Kingdom
During his visit to the United Kingdom from Thursday 5 April to Friday 6 April, Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada had talks with Baroness Scotland of Asthal, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Sir John Kerr, Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and met Rt. Hon. Cheryl Gillan of the Conservative Party, a member of the House of Commons. They exchanged their views on wide-ranging issues, including the parliamentary systems of both countries and Japan-UK relations. Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada also visited the House of Lords.
- Japan's Senior Vice-Minister and Parliamentary Secretary system, which started in January 2001, was modeled on the United Kingdom's system. As such, the objective of Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada's visit as Japan's first Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs was to exchange views on the parliamentary systems of both countries and other issues. This exchange of views was conducted with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as well as with a Conservative Party member of Parliament. Furthermore, Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada's firsthand explanation of the political situation in Japan and the present state of structural reforms furthered their understanding of Japan.
- Both Japan and the United Kingdom are aiming to implement and enhance further bilateral cooperation in various areas based on the Action Agenda 21 jointly announced in September 1999, and are emphasizing the importance of building close relations at all levels between the two governments to this end. From this perspective, this visit was meaningful because Parliamentary Secretary Sakurada became personally acquainted with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and they jointly confirmed that both countries would further promote close Japan-UK relations through activation of exchange between parliamentarians and foreign ministry personnel.
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