Opening Statements by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
and Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand at the Joint Press Conference

2 May 2002

  1. Statement by Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand
  2. Statement by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan
  3. Question concerning the privatization of postal services
  4. Question concerning a free trade agreement
  5. Questions on relations with New Zealand and the concept of a growing East Asia community
  6. Questions concerning whalin
  7. Question on the achievements of Prime Minister Koizumi's Asia-Oceania trip

I. Statement by Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand

Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand: It is my pleasure to receive Prime Minister Koizumi and to have the opportunity to talk with him again. We met first last year at the APEC Leaders' Summit in Shanghai, and today we have been able to focus on the bilateral relationship between Japan and New Zealand and to talk about many areas in which New Zealand and Japan have common cause and common interest.

New Zealand and Japan are two very, very close countries. Japan is our third largest export market. It is the source of many of our visitors. It is the source of many of the international students who come to our country. It is the source of many of our imports. And there is at the level of local government, of sports, of cultural groups, an ongoing range of contacts, which is very great indeed.

Today, we have talked again about the initiative I went to Japan with last April, which was to seek a new level of engagement for New Zealand in Japan, particularly focusing on those sectors where there are not significant barriers to progress like tourism, like education, like scientific and technical industries cooperation, like forestry, and like deepening the people-to-people contacts.

Of particular interest to me today has been the discussion we have had on the Kyoto Protocol, which the Japanese Government is also taking a great interest in ratifying. And I have been able to tell Mr. Koizumi today that the New Zealand Government is also taking a great interest in ratifying; I have been able to tell Mr. Koizumi today that the New Zealand Government also is moving towards ratification and has just this week outlined the way it believes New Zealand can meet its commitments under the Protocol. It is clear that there is a lot of research, a lot of environmental technology development in Japan, which is of great interest to New Zealand. In this respect, Japan is very advanced on waste disposal and on environmental technologies in general, and we need to learn a lot from each other in these areas as we both strive to tackle the climate change problem.

We have had a good discussion on security issues, on the post-11 September environment, on the issues around Afghanistan, also on East Timor, which Mr. Koizumi has just visited.

Mr. Koizumi has spoken to us directly of his vision for an East Asian community. Most welcome to us from the outset has been his determination to see the inclusion of New Zealand, along with Australia, in such an East Asian community.

We have also touched today on the great importance of the new Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

We have also touched on those issues, small in number, where New Zealand and Japan do not agree. They cover issues of whaling, of fisheries, of nuclear waste transport. But we have both stressed that these are small number of issues, albeit significant, in a very big, positive relationship which exists between us.

Finally, Mr. Koizumi also raised with us the issue of North Korea, which continues to be of concern to its near neighbor, Japan. New Zealand undertakes, through the diplomatic relationship it has now established with North Korea, to continue to advocate to North Korea directly that it open up to the outside world and address longstanding issues for Japan, like the abduction issue.

For us, it has been a wonderful opportunity to see Mr. Koizumi directly and have this dialogue, and we are very pleased to have him in New Zealand, for the first bilateral visit by a Japanese Prime Minister for five years.

II. Statement by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan: I am very grateful to Prime Minister Clark and the Government of New Zealand for a very warm welcome.

In the meeting with Prime Minister Clark, we agreed that in general our bilateral relations are good. With my visit this time we would like to further strengthen and expand our already good relations. We agreed on that.

In April last year, Prime Minister Clark visited Japan and had a meeting with my predecessor, Prime Minister Mori, and on that occasion made several concrete proposals, including tourism, people-to-people exchange, forestry, science and technology. In fact, working-level consultations are proceeding in these areas and the Government of Japan wishes to provide active support to these endeavors and translate into reality the proposals that Prime Minister Clark had made for the future.

Now, earlier this year in January I delivered a speech in Singapore with an initiative for a growing East Asian community, and I explained about this idea of mine. We in Japan hope that New Zealand would be a core member of this community together with other countries. Of course, bilaterally close relations are important, but it is important to establish closer regional relations as well. Such regional relations need to be strengthened always bearing in mind the overall relations with the entire world and international cooperation.

With regard to the fight against terrorism, the world community as a whole is fighting terrorism with resolve and Japan through close cooperation and coordination with New Zealand wishes to fight terrorism with firm resolve. I believe that we have agreed on that as well.

We reaffirmed our common position regarding the conclusion of the Kyoto Protocol. As far as Japan is concerned, I explained that we are making efforts to see to it that the Kyoto Protocol will be ratified during this current session of the Diet. New Zealand has also shown much interest in global warming issues, in environmental issues, so we believe that we can make further progress in our cooperation in this area as well.

We also agreed, as far as Japan is concerned, with regard to East Timor, Japan is determined to play a further role for the nation-building of East Timor, and of course I believe that Japan has a role to play which would be different from other countries' roles. But in cooperation with New Zealand, and through continued consultations with the United Nations, we will find out which specific areas we can play our roles and cooperate with New Zealand in this process of overall nation-building of East Timor as well.

Overall, in my meeting with Prime Minister Clark today I believe the sense was that areas for cooperation between Japan and New Zealand would further continue to expand, and also quality-wise and quantity-wise, I am sure that the exchange of people between our two countries will continue to expand. Also, on numerous international agendas, I believe our two countries can share common values. I believe it was quite meaningful that we were able to reaffirm those points in our meeting today.

So, I hope that, on the occasion of my visit to New Zealand this time, our two countries will further strengthen cooperation not just in the interest of closer ties between our two countries but also so that our two countries will be able to share our values with regard to numerous international issues so that we can exchange our views on those matters on international agenda and further strengthen our cooperation. Once again, I should like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the very warm welcome extended to me by Prime Minister Clark and the Government of New Zealand.

III. Question concerning privatization and postal services

Nihon Keizai Shimbun: I would like to ask this question both to Prime Minister Koizumi and to Prime Minister Clark. We understand that New Zealand is an advanced country in terms of administrative reform, and personal services, I believe, have already been completely privatized and private businesses are in business. In fact, when coming here we found that there are postal services both governmental and private. I wonder how you view postal services privatization and how Prime Minister Koizumi views such privatization in New Zealand.

Prime Minister Koizumi: On this point even before I became Prime Minister I felt that there was a lot we could learn from the administrative reform in New Zealand. The policy that whatever the private sector can do should be left to the private secretor is a challenge for my administration. We have exchanged views on this and also, with regard to our reform, I asked questions of Prime Minister Clark about the results achieved in the reform. Of course, we have different ways of doing things in our countries, and, therefore, I believe that there will be a somewhat different course. I believe that there are both pros and cons with regard to the reforms conducted in New Zealand, but we would like to learn from positive aspects. I am sure this could be positive for Japan as well.

We cannot readily say, and I certainly do not believe, that the postal reform in New Zealand would be exactly the same as the one that will be conducted in Japan. But as we proceed with postal services reform, or privatization in Japan, I believe there are numerous points that we can learn from the New Zealand experience.

As I address postal services reform, of course, there will be no change in my basic stance that whatever the private sector can do should be left to the private sector. I am given to understand that private businesses have already entered postal services in New Zealand and so I would like to see the actual posts here.

Prime Minister Clark: I think it is important to remember with respect to New Zealand that it had a very substantial state sector because, as a nation building in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, New Zealand was a nation of very little private capital, and had the state not been there developing industries, highways, communications of all kinds we probably never would have developed anything.

In the eighties and nineties there was extensive privatization, not all of it entirely successful. As you can see, the New Zealand Government is once again a substantial owner of the national airline, privatized around a decade ago.

Each country has to work these things out for itself. I am certainly not going to lecture Mr. Koizumi on economic reform. I am well aware from my reading of the world's newspapers that Japan gets lectured on a daily basis by financial columnists. All I would say is that Japan has had a great and strong economy, we have great faith in its future, it is a very important economy to us, and we see real opportunities in the Japanese economy for New Zealand right now, and we wish Mr. Koizumi and his Government the best in grappling with the issues they have.

IV. Question concerning a free trade agreement

Television New Zealand: A question to both Prime Ministers. The prospect of a free trade agreement between Japan and Australia was raised during your visit there recently: Has that issue also been raised here, and, if so, what are the dimensions to those talks?

Prime Minister Clark: What I have said to the Prime Minister today is that New Zealand stands ready to discuss such an agreement when Japan is ready. Right now Japan is not ready to discuss a free trade agreement with New Zealand, which would have to include agriculture because that is the bottom line we have applied. That, of course, was the reason why when I went to Japan last year we talked about a new level of engagement on economic issues, which enabled us to make more progress on the areas where there were not significant barriers.

We see enormous potential for New Zealand in the Japanese market: attracting international students, growing the tourism trade (which is of very high value to us), opportunities for niche new economy sectors from biotechnology to information and communications and environmental technologies, and, of course, the interest of Japan in our forestry industry is quite substantial.

So, what we determined to do was to work with the New Zealand private sector in engagement with Japan where we could make some real, practical progress. We think that in the short- to medium-term that pragmatic approach is likely to yield greater results than sitting still and waiting for a free trade agreement to happen. We are, of course, all engaged in the APEC process, which envisages the developed economies dropping all their barriers by 2010, and New Zealand has high hopes for real progress on the primary sectors and the WTO round.

Prime Minister Koizumi: I fully agree with Prime Minister Clark. It is not only agriculture, but in numerous areas we see expanding relations between our countries in a very pragmatic way. I believe that by expanding these relations we should be able to cooperate in more areas. So, it is not that a free trade agreement exists in the first instance, but rather by building on actual results we should be able to deepen our economic relations and move in that direction. In fact, we are already seeing progress in various areas.

V. Questions on relations with New Zealand and the concept of a growing East Asia community

Japanese journalist: Prime Minister Koizumi, you have visited four countries this time, and I believe that many countries have expressed support for your idea about a growing East Asian community. However, when it gets down to specifics, I believe there are still difficulties. How do you wish to further promote this initiative? With regard to New Zealand, Prime Minister Mori agreed on these five areas: How do you specifically intend to further carry forward relations with New Zealand?

Prime Minister Koizumi: I discussed this East Asian community idea with Prime Minister Clark, as I said earlier. I believe that we have to establish a closer regional relationship of cooperation. That, I believe, is very important. But such regional cooperation must always bear in mind global perspectives, or international cooperation. In this respect, when we consider New Zealand's role, Japan's relations, the relations that we have with New Zealand, I believe, would be very important. Prime Minister Clark discussed with my predecessor, Prime Minister Mori, cooperation in five areas and I take that very seriously. I think the question is how specifically we implement and make progress in these areas, and we already discussed this today. In the private sector and at the government-level, discussions are underway, and the Government wishes to provide active support to these endeavors.

VI. Questions concerning whaling

Reuters: What specifically did you discuss about whaling? If I can ask both Prime Ministers: In particular, did you discuss the South Pacific whale sanctuary, resumption of commercial whaling, which Japan seeks? And, did you discuss Japanese attempts to recruit countries into the IWC that do not have a historical interest in whaling, which Helen Clark has criticized in the past?

Prime Minister Clark: Today I registered that there is an ongoing difference of opinion on those issues and that New Zealand would, of course, prefer to see Japan supporting sanctuaries in the South Pacific for whaling. We have not dwelt on the issues today; they are well rehearsed; they were well discussed when I went to Japan last year. There is of course the International Whaling Commission meeting coming up in Japan very shortly, and we will have a New Zealand minister there and our position will be expressed there, as it has been today and as it has been on many previous occasions.

Prime Minister Koizumi: On this issue, again, I exchanged views with Prime Minister Clark. As for Japan, environmental conservation and preservation of wildlife, these are certainly very important. We are fully aware of New Zealand's position regarding whaling. On this issue, I think discussions are underway at the IWC. I believe matters should be discussed on the basis of scientific research.

Japan does pay due consideration to the protection of resources. Paying due consideration to protection of resources and environmental consideration, that is Japan's position. Of course, that differs from the anti-whaling position. But this difference, I believe, would not impede the good relations we have between our two countries. In fact I believe that we can cooperate with each other in many areas, although in some areas, of course, we do have different views, different positions. So, while we have these differences, overall these differences will not hamper our good relations.

VII. Question on the achievements of Prime Minister Koizumi's Asia-Oceania trip

Japanese journalist: A question for Prime Minister Koizumi: You have concluded your very last meeting during your trip. Looking back over the entire trip, I wonder if you could elaborate the achievements of this trip?

Prime Minister Koizumi: I visited Viet Nam, East Timor, Australia, and here I am in New Zealand. In each country I spent only one night, but I was fortunate to have a very candid and very useful exchange of views. Meeting in person, I believe, would be very important in order to confirm and establish friendship and to establish trust. I was able to reaffirm that awareness. I believe that we will be able to overcome the differences and build on the commonalities between our countries, not just in the interests of the two countries concerned but also for the international community. Being aware of each country's responsibilities and roles in the community of nations I was able to confirm these points. I am grateful to the very warm welcome extended to me in all the countries I visited. I think it was indeed a very good trip. Thank you very much.

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