(Provisional translation)


(5, October 1993, Tokyo)

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the government and people of Japan, I wish to extend my warmest welcome to all of you who have come from so far.

I would also like to express my profound gratitude to the United Nations and the Global Coalition for Africa for sharing the responsibilities for organising this Conference.

The large attendance at this Conference by representatives from so many countries and international organizations is in itself extremely encouraging for the future of Africa. It is clear testimony of the serious interest that the international community takes in the issues confronting the nations of Africa.

Distinguished guests,

Many African countries are now engaged in political and economic reforms to respond to the dramatic changes that are transpiring in the world. The general trend occurring in Africa is clearly towards more democratic political systems and a free market economy. We must not allow the needs of Africa to be ignored in any way because of developments in other areas of the world. If we are to accept the inevitability of increasing global interdependence, then we have to accept that the challenges facing Africa squarely confront the international community as well.

Cognizant of this global situation, Japan proposed to hold this International Conference on African Development. Only a week ago, I stressed the significance of this Conference in my speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

It is my humble wish that this conference will serve as a high-level forum for serious policy dialogues on African development between the African countries and their development partners. I sincerely hope that during the two-day discussions the African countries express their determination to purse self-help efforts, and that their development partners show and equally determined commitment to support these efforts.

I feel that for this meeting to be held in Asia to discuss Africa has a special significance, and it would be extremely rewarding if this Conference will one day be remembered as a milestone for future cooperative relations between Asia and Africa.

I consider it particularly important that a Tokyo Declaration on African Development be adopted as a political manifesto of all the participants, and that it will cement a firm commitment and provide useful guidelines for African development.

Distinguished guests,

After World War II, Japan benefited greatly from the generous assistance from the international community. It is time for my country to return this goodwill by taking an active role in assisting Africa, among others, in cooperation with the United Nations and other menders of the international community.

Permit me now to briefly mention some points that Japan considers of great importance in its future relations with Africa.

First, Japan highly appreciates that the African countries are opting for reform efforts at their own initiative. Japan will continue to actively support Africa's political and economic reforms. In the political sphere, we intend to play a greater role in Africa through our cooperation with the United Nations and other organs. On the economic front, Japan intends to increase the amount of Official Development Assistance. The new target for the five-year period beginning in 1993 will be between 70 and 75 billion dollars.

Secondly, we will provide active assistance to the human resources development in Africa. This is based on our own experience that development primarily depends on people and that the rewards of this development are for the people. With this in mind, Japan will put a greater emphasis on youth exchanges between Africa and Japan. Special attention will also be paid to environmental issues in Africa, since Africa's development must ensure a better quality of life of kits people.

Finally, through mutual efforts, we hope to build an "unfailing friendship" with the African nations beyond a mere donor-recipient relationship. I am happy to note that "Africa Week" and "International Cooperation Festival" have successfully been organised and are acquainting many Japanese with the rich culture of the African continent and the lives of its people.

There is maxim in Japan that says "though one arrow can easily be broken, three arrows banded together cannot." This maxim reminds us of "solidarity", the spirit that permeates this Conference. I am convinced that a clue to tackling the challenges facing Africa can also be found in the three arrows, namely, the efforts of the African governments, the active participation of the African peoples, and the warm assistance of the world community.

To conclude my remarks, ladies and gentlemen, I wish to request your wholehearted understanding and cooperation for the success of this Conference.

Thank you very much.

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