April 30, 2010


The Foreign Minister of Japan, His Excellency Mr Katsuya Okada was received today by the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Her Excellency Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane as part of a Working Visit to South Africa by Minister Okada from 29 - 30 April 2010. During working luncheon hosted by Minister Nkoana-Mashabae in his honour, Minister Okada was accompanied by Madame Sadako Ogata, recipient on 27 April 2010 of the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo, who is the President of JICA, the Japan International Co-operation Agency and former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The two Ministers also Co-Chaired the 10th Session of the South Africa - Japan Partnership Forum.

This first bilateral visit by a serving Japanese Foreign Minister took place with a view to strengthening strategic co-operative relations to promote co-operation to tackle challenges in international fora and to strengthen and deepen an already important bilateral relationship. The Ministers discussed how to strengthen and deepen the partnership established in 1998, inter alia through more high-level government interaction and dialogue, official visits in each direction, as well as the provision of Japanese technical co-operation and skills development training of South Africans. They also discussed a yearlong series of events that is being presented by the Embassy of South Africa in Tokyo and the Embassy of Japan in Pretoria, to celebrate the Centennial of relations, which have grown since the appointment of Sir Julius Jeppe as Japan's Honorary Consul in Cape Town in 1910. The Centennial Celebrations promote people-to-people contacts and better understanding of the respective peoples and cultures of the two countries.

Senior Officials of both Governments met on the first day of the Partnership Forum in four Working Groups that discussed strengthened co-operation in the fields of :

  • Development Co-operation and Human Resources
  • Science and Technology
  • Energy
  • Trade and Investment

In addition to the above, during their meeting the two Ministers also discussed matters of mutual interest in the bilateral, multilateral and global spheres. They agreed to initiate negotiations for an agreement on co-operation for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, where Japan is a world leader. They agreed in principle on the text of a Draft Agreement on Technical Co-operation and the Japan Overseas Co-operation Volunteers Programme, which is expected to be signed by them later this year. The agreement provides for a framework in terms of which Japan, through the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), provides technical assistance and skills development training to South African officials and parastatals, and sends a number of skilled Volunteers to South Africa each year to conduct training.

Regarding multilateral issues the Ministers discussed co-operation and mutual support in issues such as the reform of the United Nations, especially the Security Council; disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons; the Climate Change negotiations where South Africa will host the 17th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2011; human rights issues in UN fora; and elections to UN bodies.They also discussed regional issues of mutual interest, including developments in the DRC and Madagascar.

Discussions also covered the strengthening of co-operation for African development. South Africa commended the Government of Japan for its contribution to the development of Africa through the TICAD process (Tokyo International Conference on African Development).Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will lead the South African delegation to the Second Africa-Japan Ministerial Meeting in follow-up to the TICAD IV Programme of Action, to be held in Arusha (Tanzania) on 2-3 May 2010. Minister Okada will be one of the co-Chairs of the Arusha Ministerial meeting while Tanzanian President Kikwete will officially open it. The TICAD IV Yokohama Declaration was adopted by a Summit of African and Japanese Heads of State and Government in Yokohama during May 2008 where, among others, the Japanese Government committed to double its official development assistance (ODA) to Africa by 2012. Other commitments by Japan included ODA loans up to US$4billion mainly for infrastructure; a financial facility by the Japan Bank for International Co-operation for international co-operation up to US$2,5 billion including establishment of a Facility for African Investment; and US$560 million to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The Closing Session of the Partnership Forum received briefings from the Co-Chairpersons of the respective Working Groups who reported back on the proceedings and achievements in their Groups on issues including, among others:

  • closer co-operation to promote more trade and investment, where Japan has been South Africa's principal export destination during three of the last five years;
  • SA's second Industrial Policy Action Plan and its impact on investments in South Africa where 86 Japanese companies have operations employing many thousands of workers;
  • Possible co-operation in energy issues, including clean and renewable energy sources; and
  • the planned migration by South Africa to digital television broadcasts, where Japan offers its ISDB-T system.

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