Statement by H.E. Ms. Midori MATSUSHIMA,
Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
at the Croatia Summit 2007

July 7, 2007

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Midori MATSUSHIMA and I am the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan. It is a great pleasure for me to represent the Government of Japan here today, and I would like to commend the government of the Republic of Croatia for hosting this important summit.

This is my first time to visit Dubrovnik, and I am so impressed by the beauty of the city, which is so peaceful and prosperous. It is almost hard to imagine the severe times that this city experienced in the 1990s. I had a similar impression when I visited Sarajevo last year.

In November of last year, Mr. Taro ASO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, announced a new pillar of Japanese diplomacy: the creation of the Arc of Freedom and Prosperity. As a result of the World War II, most major cities in Japan, including Tokyo, suffered total devastation. However, based on universal values such as freedom, democracy, market economy, human rights and the rule of law, Japan has accomplished a remarkable recovery. The creation of the Arc of Freedom and Prosperity means that Japan will focus its diplomatic resources on creating prosperity and stability among the nations located in the outer-rim of the Eurasian continent. Japan is located on the "eastern frontier" of the Arc, whereas South Eastern Europe constitutes its "western frontier." Japan considers the countries in South Eastern Europe as strategic partners in our endeavor to create and strengthen the Arc of Freedom and Prosperity.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) cannot is very important for the sustainable economic development of the region. The improvement of the investment environment is a crucial task to be performed by each government of the region. From this viewpoint, in March of this year, Japan held a seminar in Tokyo, inviting the representatives of the South Eastern Europe and V4 countries in charge of promoting FDI, in which I had an honor to welcome the participants as the representative of the Japanese government. The participants discussed in particular the roles by governments, and shared the experiences of the V4 countries that have been successful in attracting Japanese investment. Japan will continue such cooperation with the countries in the region.

Japan has greatly contributed to the enhancement of these universal values in South Eastern Europe by ODA, and will continue to do so in order to promote sustainable economic development in the region, while bearing in mind the level of development of each country.

Japan strongly supports the efforts of the countries in the region to promote economic and social development and to enhance the rule of law through regional cooperation. In this respect, we welcome the establishment of RCC and congratulate the appointment of Mr. Biscevic as Secretary General.

Japan welcomes various reform efforts undertaken by Croatia and other countries of the region to pave the way for their accession to EU and NATO.

As for Japan, Prime Minister Abe visited NATO headquarters in Brussels this January, and emphasized Japan's commitment to reinforce its cooperation with NATO in the area of security in his speech at the North Atlantic Council. Japan is also cooperating with the EU as a strategic partner, based on common universal values to tackle various issues which the international community faces.

Let me once again thank the government of Croatia for initiating this summit.

Thank you for your attention.

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