His Excellency Mr.Kuniwo Nakamura,|
Chairman of the South Pacific Forum,
and Ministers of the South Pacific Forum members,
The Honorable Suketaka Matsukata,
Governor of Miyazaki Prefecture The Honorable Shigemitsu Tsumura,
Mayor of Miyazaki City,
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my great pleasure to convene PALM 2000 here in Miyazaki today, with the attendance of the leaders and ministers of SPF members. First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Governor Matsukata, Mayor Tsumura, and all the people concerned here in Miyazaki for their invaluable cooperation to hold this meeting.
There are unforgettable "historical links" between Japan and the Pacific Island Countries. Although the history of our exchanges includes a sad period of the last World War, our relationship has strengthened over the years, based on a mutual trust existing between fellow "island nations in Pacific Ocean."
Our relations took off again in the 1970's, when many Pacific islands gained independence one after another. The thrust of our relationship then was the Japanese "assistance to the nation-building efforts" of these countries through bilateral as well as multilateral means. This relationship gradually developed into a broader partnership encompassing "cooperation in the international arena." Meanwhile, in the mid 80s, prominent Japanese political leaders including Mr.Nakasone,then Prime Minister,and Mr Kuranari,then foreign minister visited the region.
The First Japan-South Pacific Forum Summit Meeting, which was held in Japan in 1997 was an important milestone in that the development of such a comprehensive and mutually-beneficial partnership between Japan and the Pacific Island Countries was recognized, along with the continued importance of Japanese assistance to the efforts by the Pacific Island Countries to achieve economic self-reliance.
Three years passed since then. Today, the billow of globalization is surging within our Ocean.
Globalization means that wealth, technology and idea spread all over the world across the borders and ocean through advanced communication and transport technology. It provides a great opportunity to the Pacific Island Countries which are isolated from the outside world by the ocean.V
Another aspect of globalization is that the economically vulnerable Pacific island countries will be exposed to the increasingly severe international competition. Additionally, one cannot ignore the risk that globalization may entail threats to people's health, to the safety in our lives, to the environment and social stability, as well as to cultural diversity.
The question of how to deal with globalization is a crucial issue faced by countries all over the world. At the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit in July, where Japan will act as the chair, one of the major topics to be discussed among G8 leaders will be the question of what the international society can do so that all people in the world can enjoy prosperity, achieve deeper peace of mind and live in a more stable world, while globalization and the advancement of information society progresses rapidly. In this sense, I believe that today's discussion at PALM 2000 will contribute greatly to the success of the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit.
Of course, self-help efforts by the Pacific Island Countries and the support from donor countries including Japan have been, and will continue to be very important factors in order to cope with the billow of globalization reaching our ocean. In addition, I believe that Japan and the Pacific Island countries should work together in the spirit of partnership based on mutual trust to explore potentiality of the Pacific Islanders and new areas of cooperation, in other words our "common frontiers."
I would like to take this opportunity, at this historical juncture of the year 2000, to announce Japan's determination to pursue the "Pacific Common Frontiers Initiative," working together with the Pacific Islands bilaterally as well as multilaterally in order to jointly tackle new frontiers, centring around three keywords, which are "Youth," "Ocean" and "Future."
The main pillars of "Pacific Common Frontiers Initiative" correspond to the agenda of today's leaders' session.
First of all, I believe that to cultivate "youth",that is to say to develop human resources, and to nurture progressive spirit and resilience which are attributes of "youth," is key to the pursuit of the first of the three pillars, which is the "Sustainable Development of the Pacific Islands Countries." I myself, as a politician, have long dedicated myself to education, believing that it is absolutely crucial for a country like Japan, which is not one of those countries endowed with abundant natural resources, to nurture youths,who are healthy, creative, flexible, international and caring. This should also apply to the Pacific Island Countries, which, in general, have very limited population, land area and natural resources.
From this point of view, Japan will expand its assistance to capacity building in the area of development,aiming at the implementation of relevant schemes in the order of more than 3,000 people over the next five years. Emphasis on human resources development will also feature in our industry development support to the Pacific Island Countries. Furthermore, Japan is determined to continue to actively provide support to such areas as education, women in development, and remote education through communication satellite and inter-net.
At the recent G8 Education Ministers' Meeting, which was held earlier this month, the importance of international exchanges was emphasised. Indeed, Japan intends to become a more attractive destination for overseas students. In this context, we intend to accept more students from Pacific Island Countries through Japanese Government Scholarship or support for foreign students coming to Japan by their own expenses.
Information and Communication technology is an indispensable element for the survival in the era of globalization. In addition, the issue of "digital divide," which might result in larger differences between the developed and the developing countries, is a pressing and serious matter to the Pacific Island countries. In this context, Japan has provided assistance to such ICT related projects as the "USP net," in collaboration with Australia and New Zealand, which was about the establishment of the remote education system of the South Pacific University through a communication satellite. Japan has also supported the United Nations' "Small Islands Developing States Network." On this occasion of PALM 2000, Japan has decided to contribute one million US dollars to the UNDP's "Pacific IT promoting project" , to support further development of multi-faceted network for the Pacific Islands.
Sound Economic Management is important in order to make "Youth" power play in full scale. We note that the Pacific Island Countries have engaged in economic reforms, and that international organizations such as the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the IMF are supporting such efforts at national levels. Japan intends to continue to support such reform efforts, in the hope that they will result in the development of vibrant economies, as well as caring societies in the Pacific.
"Ocean" is the key word for our cooperation regarding "Regional and Global issues of Common Concerns," which is the second pillar of the "Pacific Common Frontiers Initiative. In the midst of globalization, the degradation of our "Ocean", or regional and global environment surrounding is becoming more and more serious. Especially the sea-level rise caused by global warming is a critical problem for the Pacific Island Countries. In this context, it is absolutely important that the 6th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP6) scheduled for this Autumn is a success, for the Kyoto Protocol to enter into force by 2002 at the latest. Japan is determined to contribute to the progress of negotiations, in cooperation with Pacific Island Countries. Furthermore, Japan will support the introduction of "new energy" and "renewable energy" in this region.
The change in our environment, or our "Ocean," have affected a wide range of marine living species such as coral reeves and mangroves which are so dear to our heart. Japan commits itself to the preservation of bio-diversity in the Pacific, while utilizing such institutions as "International Coral Reef Centre" which is soon to be completed in Palau for the purpose of coral reef preservation under the cooperation between Japan and United states.
It is also becoming increasingly important to tackle problems coming across the "Ocean", which threaten lives, livelihoods and dignity of people, in other words, "Human Security" issues. These include infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, drug and trans-national organized crimes. In order to deal with these problems which are faced by the people of the Pacific island countries, Japan has decided to contribute approximately 2 million dollars from the "Human Security Fund."
In addition, facing the powerful tide of globalization, it is imperative that we respect and promote cultural diversity of the Pacific island Countries. Cultural diversity is indeed what makes our region a vibrant and dynamic place. That is the reason why, the Government of Japan has decided to provide grant aid for the UNESCO project with the aim to preserve and activate the various indigenous languages in the Pacific Island Countries by identifying them as intangible cultural heritage.�@Japan intends to continue to make contributions in this field, working together with the UNESCO.
The "Ocean" is also a major source of wealth for the Pacific Island Countries, especially with regard to its marine living and mineral resources. Japan intends to promote further cooperation with the Pacific Island Countries with a view to establishing appropriate frameworks for sustainable use, preservation and management of marine living resources.�@Furthermore, Japan will continue to actively cooperate with the Pacific Island Countries in the area of deep sea mineral exploitation.
"Ocean" is a global existence. For global issues to be tackled effectively, international cooperation in the United Nations and the strengthening of the UN framework are becoming increasingly pivotal. We would like to work together with the Pacific Island Countries aiming at the early realization of comprehensive United Nations reforms, including Security Council reforms, using an opportunity of the Millennium Summit scheduled for later this year.reform of United Nations such as reform of security council. I therefore strongly hope that the Pacific Island Countries actively participate in the Millennium Summit.
"Future" is the key word for this third pillar, which is the "Strengthening of Japan-SPF Partnership." The "future" of the Pacific is one of our common frontiers. What is most important in order to brighten our "future," is cooperation, putting together our wisdom and power.
For this purpose, it is of course necessary to continue our efforts to promote political dialogue between leaders and ministers, as well as business ties, including trade and investment between Japan and SPF members, through such measures as the strengthening of the Pacific Islands Centre.
Furthermore, I believe that the aspect of "heart-to-heart" relationship between peoples from different countries is what really matters for us, going beyond political and economic relations. The idea of "Heart-to-heart" relationship was originally put forward in 1977 in Manila by the former Prime Minister Mr.Takeo Fukuda, who was my mentor in politics, and for whom I have great respect. And I am confident that the relevance of this aspect of "heart-to-heart" relationship will increase with the progress of globalization and the advancement of information society.
Based on this belief, I decided to contribute one million US dollars to the South Pacific Forum for the purpose of promoting intellectual and cultural exchange between Japan and Pacific Island Countries and other forms of dialogue. We will also dispatch a "Pacific Intellectual Dialogue Mission" for the same purpose.
It is also necessary to broaden the scope of Japan-SPF cooperation to various parts of Japan if we are to further deepen Japan-SPF partnership including the above mentioned aspect of "heart-to-heart relationship." In this context, it should be noted that Okinawa has a great store of experience of cooperation with neighbouring countries including Pacific Island Countries. We would like to promote Okinawa-based intellectual exchanges as well as cooperation in human resources development with the Pacific island countries, by promoting such activities as exchange programme in Ryukyu University.
Lastly, I believe that what Japan intends is not to create one single hero in the Pacific.While personal style and creativity of individual players are important, what matters most is the enhancement of the vitality of the team as a whole.
I understand that Rugby is popular in many of the SPF member countries. I myself was a rugby player. There is a popular slogan in the world of rugby, which goes: "One for all, All for one." I think that there is a lot to be learnt from this slogan. Lets try to move forward in partnership, and score beautiful tries, in this grand game called "globalization".