Japan-Australia Summit - Evaluation and Summary

June 12, 2000
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

1. Overall evaluation

Prime Minister John Howard of Australia came to Japan on a special aircraft to attend the funeral for ex-Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi. He arrived on June 8 (Thursday) and departed on June 9 (Friday). It was his third visit to Japan, following an informal one in September 1996 and formal one in July 1999.

During his stay, Prime Minister Howard held bilateral talks with Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori (for about 20 minutes) and also had separate discussions with President Abdurrahman Wahid of Indonesia and Prime Minister Leekpai Chuan of Thailand. He also attended the meeting between Prime Minister Mori and the representatives of the countries which are members of the South Pacific Forum (SPF).

It was the first time for the two leaders to meet each other. At the outset, Prime Minister Howard expressed condolences on the passing of ex-Prime Minister Obuchi. The two leaders went on to discuss the evaluation of PALM 2000, Australia-Japan relations, and the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit. The two reaffirmed the importance of Japan-Australia relations and their resolve to strengthen them.

2. Summary

(10:19 - 10:38 June 8 (Thursday), at the Asahi-no-Ma room of the Geihinkan)

(1) PALM 2000

Prime Minister Mori said that PALM 2000 was a resounding success and expressed his gratitude for attendance by Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. In response, Prime Minister Howard said he had heard from Foreign Minister Downer that the Summit was a success and that Prime Minister Mori's personal leadership was instrumental in this result.

(2) Australia-Japan relations

Noting the historical, economic, and strategic importance of relations between the two countries, as well as the deepening of mutual understanding in the cultural aspect, Prime Minister Howard said he intended to work with Prime Minister Mori in further strengthening the already mature relationship. Prime Minister Mori indicated his agreement with these thoughts, adding that the maturity of the relations was evidenced by their exchange of opinions on the situation in Indonesia and Korean Peninsula, and expressing his desire to bolster it through the framework of the bilateral meetings of the two leaders and Australia-Japan Ministerial Committee meetings.

(3) Kyushu-Okinawa Summit

Prime Minister Howard stated that, as the leader of the Cairns Group, Australia was hoping for a strong show of support at the Summit for trade liberalization within the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and that it was important for the WTO not to lose momentum. Noting that the watchwords of the Summit were "greater prosperity," "peace of mind," and "world stability," Prime Minister Mori said that Japan would do its utmost to send a positive message to the rest of the world from Okinawa, and that he wanted the Summit to reflect the views of Australia and the other countries which participated in PALM 2000.

(4) Other matters

In his meeting with the envoys of SPF countries, Prime Minister Mori asked Prime Minister Howard for Australian cooperation in the evacuation of Japanese nationals from the Solomon Islands.

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