Visit by Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura to Afghanistan and Attendance at the Fourth Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Foreign Ministers' Meeting

April 11, 2005

Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura visited Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for the period from April 5 to 7 and held meetings with the President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, attended the Fourth Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Foreign Ministers' Meeting among others before returning to Japan on April 8. The summary of his visit is as follows.

1. Visit to Afghanistan

Foreign Minister Machimura held meetings with President Hamid Karzai and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Abdullah of Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Machimura expressed his respect for the full efforts put in by the people of Afghanistan towards the creation of a democratic nation and shared Japan's intention to provide wide ranging assistance for Afghanistan's nation building. In response to this, President Karzai expressed his gratitude towards the assistance by Japan, noting the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process of ex-combatants and the fueling activities by Self-Defense Force (SDF) vessels in the Indian Ocean.

2. Fourth Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Foreign Ministers' Meeting

At the Fourth ACD Foreign Ministers' Meeting which was attended by foreign ministers and other officials from 26 countries, the regional and international situations were discussed among other topics and the Islamabad Declaration, which includes the basic principle of cooperation practiced at the ACD, was adopted. With regard to the issues concerning North Korea, Foreign Minister Machimura called on the importance of the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks and asked for the understanding and cooperation of other countries regarding the abduction issue. Foreign Minister Machimura emphasized the importance of United Nations (UN) reform and called for the need to improve the functionality and efficiency of the UN through reform of the Security Council by expanding the number of both permanent and non-permanent categories.

3. Bilateral Meetings

(1) Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers' Meeting

The foreign ministers exchanged opinions from the perspective of bringing the current Japan-ROK relations back to its normal state. With regard to the issue of Takeshima and the textbook, there were stringent exchanges of opinions due to differences in their positions, but the two ministers confirmed from a broad perspective that it was important for both sides to put in efforts to ensure that the differing positions of each country on these issues would not impact the friendly, cooperative relations between Japan and the ROK. As for those issues concerning the past, Foreign Minister Machimura remarked that Japan intended to continue the Japan-ROK joint history study and to work on the investigation and return of the war remains as well as provision of assistance to the ethnic Koreans residing in Sakhalin and the atomic bomb victims in the ROK with a deep understanding and sympathy regarding the sentiments of the people in the ROK. Furthermore, the two foreign ministers confirmed that shuttle summit meetings and events of the Japan-Korea Friendship Year 2005 would be continued.

(2) Other Bilateral Meetings

Taking the ACD Foreign Ministers' Meeting as an opportunity, Foreign Minister Machimura held meetings with his counterparts of Pakistan, Oman, Kazakhstan, Thailand and Myanmar and discussed with each minister the enhancement of their bilateral relations and issues of common interest.

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