Visit by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to East Timor
(Overview and Evaluation)

April 29, 2002

On 29 April 2002, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited East Timor, which will become an independent nation on 20 May 2002. The following is an overview and tentative evaluation of the visit.

1. Itinerary

29 April
Afternoon: - Arrival at Dili
- Meetings with President-elect Xanana Gusmao and Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Sergio Vieira de Mello
- Meeting with Chief Minister of the East Timor Public Administration Mari Bin Amude Alkatiri and Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jose Ramos-Horta
- Visit to United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Forces (PKF) Headquarter
- Visit to Self-Defense Forces (SDF) camp and inspection of work site
- Departure from Dili

2. Overview of Meetings

Prime Minister Koizumi met with President-elect Xanana Gusmao and Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Sergio Vieira de Mello from 12:30 for about 35 minutes, after which he met with Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri (along with Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jose Ramos-Horta). The following is an overview of those meetings.

(1) Independence of East Timor

Prime Minister Koizumi congratulated President-elect Gusmao on his election as the first President of East Timor, secured with the overwhelming support of the people of East Timor. In addition, Prime Minister Koizumi offered his congratulations as the leader of a fellow Asian country to the new leaders of East Timor on their independence at the beginning of the 21st century. In response, the leaders of East Timor expressed appreciation for Prime Minister Koizumi's visit directly prior to East Timor's independence, noting that it would give the nation self-confidence, and they expressed their gratitude to Prime Minister Koizumi for Japan's assistance to East Timor to date.

(2) Assistance to East Timor

Prime Minister Koizumi stated that under the current severe financial situation, Japan was steadily implementing the US$130 million in reconstruction, development and humanitarian assistance it announced at the Donors Meeting for East Timor in 1999. The Prime Minister added that he wanted to continue implementing assistance that focuses on three areas: human resources development, agriculture and infrastructure building, to facilitate nation-building toward self-dependent nation. In addition, Prime Minister Koizumi stated that the return of refugees and national reconciliation would be vital for stability in East Timor and to that end, Japan would like to continue its cooperation. In response, the leaders of East Timor expressed their gratitude for Japan's significant assistance to date, and stated their strong expectation of continued assistance.

(3) Dispatch of the SDF

Prime Minister Koizumi stated that Japan had dispatched about 700 personnel from an Engineering Unit of the SDF to take part in Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) in East Timor and that he would like to gain understanding and support for these activities. In response, the leaders of East Timor highly evaluated the PKO activities of the SDF in East Timor, and noted they were significantly helping East Timor's nation-building. The leaders of East Timor welcomed the dispatch of SDF personnel and expressed their appreciation.

(4) Relations with the International Community

Prime Minister Koizumi highly evaluated the role played by the UN in East Timor to date and stated that UN contributions would be important for the stability of East Timor following its independence. The leaders of East Timor announced that their country, as a member of the international community, would create friendly relations with neighboring countries after it became independent. Prime Minister Koizumi also indicated that Japan would cooperate with East Timor in this endeavor.

3. Tentative Evaluation

(1) Creation of a Future-oriented Bilateral Relationship

By conveying his congratulations to the leaders of East Timor on becoming a new member of the international community and the first newly independent nation of this century, as well as demonstrating a cooperative posture for the future, Prime Minister Koizumi was able to create a firm relation of trust with the leaders of East Timor. In addition, that Prime Minister Koizumi and the East Timorese leaders were able to confirm in a Joint Press Statement their common determination to cooperate to establish a favorable and close future-oriented relationship between Japan and East Timor after its independence was of important significance in the development of the two countries' bilateral relationship after independence.

(2) Promoting Japan's Contribution

Prime Minister Koizumi is the first G8 leader to visit East Timor and he explained directly to the leaders of East Timor Japan's basic idea of support for the country. In addition to this concept being highly appraised by the leaders of East Timor, Japan's positive attitude toward nation-building centering on the activities of UN institutions has made an impression on the international community.

(3) Encouragement for the SDF Unit

Prime Minister Koizumi became the first serving Prime Minister to visit the camp of a SDF unit serving in a UN PKO, and he offered the unit his direct encouragement. Concerning the activities of the dispatched SDF Engineering Unit, in addition to their presence being both welcomed and appreciated by the leaders of East Timor, the activities of the SDF in East Timor have also gained the understanding of the East Timorese side.


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