Japan-Republic of Korea Summit Meeting

December 17, 2004

On December 17, 2004, Prime Minister Koizumi held a summit meeting with President Roh Moo Hyun of the Republic of Korea, in Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. The following is a summary of the summit meeting.

1. Japan-ROK Relations

(1) Japan-Korea exchange, Japan-Korea Friendship Year 2005

(a) Prime Minister Koizumi noted that at the time of the establishment of relations between the two countries, the number of people traveling between the two countries was roughly 10,000 people each year, but that this number increased to approximately 3.6 million people last year (10,000 people per day), and that he received reports that the annual number of exchanges was expected to surpass 4 million people in 2004. Prime Minister Koizumi stated that the aim for 2005 was to achieve an exchange of 5 million people.

(b) The two leaders confirmed that they would work towards the success of the Japan-Korea Friendship Year 2005, which marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of relations, and work to promote a number of commemorative events.

(c) The two leaders agreed to give positive consideration concerning the increase of daily flights between Haneda and Gimpo airports from the current four to eight.

(d) The two leaders confirmed that they would promote sister city exchange arrangements.

(e) The two leaders confirmed they would make efforts under the policy that during the period of the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, for a period from March to September next year, visa requirements would be temporarily exempted for ROK citizens, and that based on the results of the limited period test, consideration would be given to the permanent exemption of visa requirements.

(2) Japan-ROK Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

Prime Minister Koizumi stated that he was seeking to begin market access negotiations at the earliest possible stage next year, with a view to agreeing on an FTA with in next year. In response, President Roh stated that in keeping with the spirit of the original agreement between the two leaders he was seeking to push ahead with negotiations.

(3) Japan-ROK Working Level Cooperation

(a) The two leaders welcomed the Japan-ROK Agreement regarding Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters that was signed on December 13, 2004.

(b) It was confirmed that efforts would be made to effect a speedy conclusion to negotiations on an Japan-ROK Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.

(c) It was agreed to initiate negotiations on the conclusion of an Agreement for the protection of migratory birds.

(4) Issues of the Past

(a) Prime Minister Koizumi stated that it was our responsibility to regret what must be regretted concerning past history and, based on that, to make efforts to further promote a future-oriented Japan-ROK relations.

(b) President Roh stated that he would like to see the Joint Support Committee for Japan-ROK Joint History Research continue its work in a sincere manner, to which Prime Minister Koizumi agreed.

(c) With regard to the issue of the remains of persons from Korean peninsula who were conscripted into private companies in Japan during the war, President Roh expressed the wish for their whereabouts to be confirmed and for them to be returned to their homeland. In response, Prime Minister Koizumi stated that he would look seriously into the matter for what could be done.

2. North Korean Issues

(1) With regard to Japan-North Korea relations, Prime Minister Koizumi explained the current status, noting that the response of North Korea to the abduction issue had aroused strong anger in many Japanese people. Prime Minister Koizumi stated that Japan had been pursuing the policy of "dialogue and pressure" in its negotiation with North Korea, would continue to demand a sincere response from North Korea, carefully try to find out what response North Korea would make, and in this context consider the possibility of sanctions in the future.

(2) In response, President Roh expressed his understanding of the difficult situation Prime Minister Koizumi was facing with regard to the abduction issue, and praised and supported Prime Minister Koizumi for continuing discussions and giving careful consideration to the imposition of sanctions under such a situation. President Roh added that the government of the ROK also liked to see a swift resolution to the abduction issue and that it was prepared to make efforts to support Japan if where necessary.

(3) Both leaders confirmed that the swift resolution of the nuclear issue was of the utmost importance for the peace and stability of Northeast Asia, and that efforts must be made to arrive at a peaceful resolution, through dialogue, under the framework of the Six-Party Talks. It was also confirmed that cooperation between Japan, the ROK and the United States would be further strengthened up with the aim of resuming the Six-Party Talks at an early juncture and advancing substantive debate.

3. Cooperation in the East Asian Region

Both leaders confirmed that Japan-ROK cooperation would be important with a view to the formation of an East Asian Community (EAC) in the future, and for the modalities of an East Asia Summit, they agreed on the importance of discussing the matters including how it would be differentiated from the ASEAN+3 leaders meetings, at the ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers' Meeting scheduled to be held in May 2005.

4. Cooperation for Reconstruction Assistance to Iraq

Both leaders confirmed that it was important for assistance to be provided to Iraq to enable the Iraqi people to reconstruct their country themselves and that cooperation would be provided in a broad range of areas towards the reconstruction of Iraq.

5. United Nations Reform

Prime Minister Koizumi noted that momentum has reached a level never seen before for reform of the United Nations, and that efforts for reform should continue. Prime Minister Koizumi noted that reform of the UN was an important issue for both countries and one on which Japan and the ROK should cooperate. In response, President Roh stated that this issue was an issue on which it is difficult for Japan and the ROK to have the same interests, and that the ROK would seek to engage in further research on what could be done to resolve differences and would return to discussion at a suitable opportunity.

6. Future Summit Meetings

It was decided that the summit meetings should continue under the name the "Shuttle Summit Meetings." The detailed schedule for the next summit meeting will be coordinated at the working level.

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