Remarks by Prime Minister Koizumi on the Occasion of Dinner
October 1, 2001
At Prime Minister's Residence
Your Excellency President Mbeki,
Her Excellency Mrs. Mbeki,
and other distinguished guests,
On behalf of the Government of Japan and our people, I would like to express my sincerest welcome to Your Excellency President Mbeki of South Africa and Her Excellency Mrs. Mbeki upon the state visit to Japan.
In 1997, during my visit to South Africa as Minister of Health, I had the honour of meeting Your Excellency who then was Deputy President of the country for the first time. In July 2001, on the occasion of the dialogue between the leaders of G8 and developing countries at Genoa Summit, we were able to meet again, this time as leaders of respective countries. And tonight, it is my great pleasure to be able to welcome Your Excellency to Japan as an official state guest.
Your Excellency proposed and has eagerly worked towards development of such ideas as "Renewal of Africa" or "African Renaissance" based on the notion that Africa's issues first of all need to be tackled by Africa's own efforts. These ideas then evolved into the establishment of the development initiative targeting the whole African continent. I would like to pay my deep respect to personal contributions made by Your Excellency in this process.
Freedom of South Africa would not have been achieved without the sense of humanity, or "ubuntu" in South African language. People of South Africa possess man's natural sentiment to want to care and love others. Based on the belief that man's goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never be extinguished even in the grimmest times of life, South Africa is working towards people-centered world order while paying respect to the freedom of other countries. Japan shares such goal South Africa is pursuing, and believes that two countries, as members of the global community, can cooperate and work constructively in responding to various global issues such as terrorism.
I have learned that South Africa will soon enjoy a beautiful season in which purple jakaranda trees blossom. I myself would like to once again visit South Africa, "the Rainbow Country", where jakaranda trees blossom beautifully, remarkable nature remains, and people from various cultural backgrounds live in harmony in the nation-building.
Ladies and Gentleman,
Upon concluding my remarks, I would like to propose a toast to further health and success of President and Mrs. Mbeki, to the further success and prosperity of the people of South Africa, and to the enhancement of cooperative relationship between South Africa and Japan.
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