Joint Press Statement by Japan and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

March 9, 2009

H.E. Mr. Taro Aso, Prime Minister of Japan and H.E. Mr. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, Prime Minister and Minister for Defense and Security of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, who visited Japan from 8th to 11th March 2009 under the Official Working Visit scheme, held a summit meeting on 9th March, and had a fruitful exchange of views on the relationship between Japan and Timor-Leste. The two leaders welcomed the friendly bilateral relations, and issued the following joint press statement for the further development of the relationship.

1. Strengthening of Japan-Timor-Leste Relations

  • The two leaders reaffirmed the common commitment to strengthen the current cooperation in order to build a future-orientated, favorable and closer relationship.
  • Based on shared universal values such as human rights and democracy, Prime Minister Aso stated that Japan would continue to cooperate with and assist Timor-Leste in working on nation-building. Both leaders also shared the view on the importance of developing bilateral relations further through multilayered people-to-people exchanges in various fields.
  • Prime Minister Aso extended a formal invitation to H.E. Dr. Ramos-Horta, President of Timor-Leste, to visit Japan at an early date. Prime Minister Gusmão expressed appreciation for the invitation and informed that he would convey the invitation to the President.

2. Assistance to Peace-Building

  • Prime Minister Gusmão, on behalf of the Timorese people, expressed profound appreciation for Japanese assistance which began in 1999 even before the independence of Timor-Leste, in the form of financial assistance amounting to 15 billion yen to such projects as supporting the Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation (CAVR), as well as personnel contribution such as the Japan Self-Defense Forces Engineering Group, civilian police, election observers and technical assistance. The Prime Minister explained that key development issues for the Government of Timor-Leste in the fiscal year 2009 are infrastructure, rural development and capacity-building.
  • Prime Minister Aso stated that Japan would continue to actively assist peace-building in Timor-Leste, for peace and stability in the country and in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The two leaders discussed the nation-building of Timor-Leste, and shared the views as attached.

3. Bilateral Cooperative Relation in the International Arena

  • Prime Minister Gusmão stated that Timor-Leste would continue to adhere to its position in support of the stance of the G4 ( Brazil, Germany, India and Japan) for their inclusion as Permanent Members of an expanded UN Security Council that would reflect the reality of the 21st century world. Prime Minister Gusmão expected Japan to play a more active role in the international arena. Prime Minister Aso expressed appreciation for the consistent support for Japan by Timor-Leste in the international arena, and reiterated that Japan intended to lead the discussions on Timor-Leste in the UN Security Council where Japan currently serves as a non-permanent member.
  • Regarding North Korea, both leaders shared the view that normalization of the relationship between Japan and North Korea is essential for lasting peace and stability in North East Asia and emphasized the importance of comprehensively resolving the outstanding issues of concern including the abduction, the nuclear, and the missile issues for that aim. Prime Minister Gusmão expressed cooperation towards Japan's position. The two leaders also reaffirmed that both countries would cooperate in fora such as the UN in order to improve the human rights situation in North Korea including the issue of abductions.
  • Regarding climate change, the two leaders expressed their determination towards the establishment of an effective post-2012 framework in which all major economies will participate in a responsible manner.
  • Both leaders confirmed the importance of efforts for the prevention and eradication of terrorism and of anti-piracy measures. Prime Minister Gusmão applauded the Japanese contribution in these fields.
  • Prime Minister Gusmão reiterated Timor-Leste's goal for accession to ASEAN by 2012. Prime Minister Aso expressed his support for Timor-Leste's smooth admission to ASEAN.


(1) Personnel Contribution and Capacity-Building

  • The two leaders shared the view that capacity-building in various fields such as national security, public administration and education is an urgent need for the nation-building of Timor-Leste.
  • Prime Minister Gusmão requested Japanese assistance in the area of maritime security in which the government structure has not yet been fully established. Prime Minister Aso referred to the invitation to Mr. Francisco Guterres, Secretary of State for Security, in February, and the dispatch of personnel from the Japan Coast Guard to Timor-Leste in March, and said that Japan would continue to provide possible assistance.
  • Prime Minister Gusmão expected the dispatch of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCVs) as soon as possible based on the Agreement on Technical Cooperation and the JOCVs Program signed on 25th January 2005. Prime Minister Aso stated that Japan is now preparing for the dispatch of JOCVs.
  • Prime Minister Aso indicated that Japan is ready to receive students to study at the National Defense Academy of Japan on and after the fiscal year 2010. Prime Minister Gusmão expressed his appreciation and wished for the steady implementation of the programme.
  • Prime Minister Aso indicated that Japan would invite youths from Timor-Leste to participate in the JENESYS (Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths) Programme which will take place in April.
  • Both leaders confirmed the importance of the role played by the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) for peace and stable development of Timor-Leste. Prime Minister Gusmão expressed his expectations of Japan's further contributions to peace and stability in Timor-Leste including the dispatch of personnel to UNMIT. Prime Minister Aso stated that the Government of Japan would consider what kind of contribution could be possible.

(2) Importance of Timor-Leste as a Producer of Oil and Natural Gas

  • Both leaders shared the view that Timor-Leste, as a producer of oil and natural gas, has contributed to Japan's energy security, and has an important potential in the future.

(3) Assistance for the Improvement of Infrastructure

  • Prime Minister Gusmão pointed out the urgent need of improving basic infrastructure for the development of Timor-Leste, and expressed his interest in the Japanese ODA Loan. Prime Minister Aso, taking account of the interest of Timor-Leste, expressed his willingness to dispatch a mission to survey possible assistance for the improvement of infrastructure.

(4) Basic Education, Health, Medicine

  • Prime Minister Gusmão referred to the importance of the expansion of basic education and the measures needed to be taken in the area of maternal and child health, including those against infectious diseases.
  • Responding to the expectation of Prime Minister Gusmão, Prime Minister Aso said that Japan would consider possible assistance such as the provision of antiviral medicines against pandemic influenza for stockpile in Timor-Leste.

(5) Grass-root Assistance

  • Prime Minister Gusmão applauded and appreciated the active role played by Japanese NGOs throughout Timor-Leste, and various Japanese companies' contributions such as "1000 Toilets Project." Prime Minister Aso expressed his expectation that the interests of the Japanese people and Japanese companies toward assistance to Timor-Leste would be further enhanced and said that Japan would continue to assist Timor-Leste in any possible way.

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