Visit of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the Czech Republic
(Summit Meeting: Summary)

August 2003

On 20 August, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi departed Poland and arrived in the Czech Republic where he held talks with Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla on 21 August at the Prime Minister's Office.

1. Bilateral Relations

(Overall)

Prime Minister Spidla extended a warm welcome on the first occasion of a visit by the Prime Minister of Japan to the Czech Republic, following the success of the visit by Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress the previous year. He expressed the hope that the visit by Prime Minister Koizumi would provide an opportunity for the further development of bilateral relations in the future. In addition, Prime Minister Spidla again expressed his gratitude to the Government and people of Japan for the prompt assistance provided for the damage by the flood in 2002.

In response Prime Minister Koizumi expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome extended to Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress on the occasion of their visit to the Czech Republic. He stated that he expected the visit to provide an opportunity for the development of bilateral relations.

(Japan-Czech Economic Relations: Looking towards the Czech Republic's Accession to the European Union (EU))

Prime Minister Koizumi noted that, (1) looking towards the Czech Republic's accession to the EU in 2004, the Japanese business community is also paying close attention to the country, anticipating that the accession will provide opportunities for further development in bilateral economic relations; and (2) the improvement of the investment environment in both countries is important and the two countries should identify issues to be tackled at the working-level and consultations should be held concerning how to improve the environment.

In response, Prime Minister Spidla noted that, (1) the Czech Republic, since the days of Czechoslovakia, has been well known for its advanced technology and given the lack of natural resources, the economy has been supported by its human resources and culture; (2) the Czech Republic would like to further promote its cooperation with Japan, the world's second largest economic power, and even through currently there are 119 Japanese corporations operating in the Czech Republic, the bilateral relations should be more closely developed; and (3) the Czech Republic's accession to the EU would be not an obstacle but a benefit to Japan, and that the current preferential treatment extended towards foreign corporations including Japanese ones would not change after the Czech Republic's accession to the EU.

In addition, Prime Minister Spidla expressed his interest in establishing direct flight connection between Japan and the Czech Republic for the promotion of economic relations. In response, Prime Minister Koizumi noted that the establishment of direct flight connection was dependent on the operation plans of the airline companies and that considerations would be made upon such plans.

2. International Situation

(The Issue of Iraq)

Prime Minister Koizumi noted that, (1) reflecting upon the experience of World War II, since the end of the war Japan has consistently pursued two basic principles of Japan-US alliance and international coordination; and (2) in regard to a response on the issue of Iraq, Japan has consistently supported the United States and the United Kingdom. After sufficient field investigations, based on the Law Concerning the Special Measures on Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq which was enacted in July and under the fundamental principle of non-participation in combat laid out by the Constitution, considerations will be made on what kind of assistance would be appropriate and where it will be provided, and if there are areas in which Japan could work with the Czech Republic, Japan would like to cooperate.

In response, Prime Minister Spidla noted that, (1) the Czech Republic, other than dispatching its field hospital unit, military and police officers for reconstruction assistance in Iraq, it is considering joining the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA); and (2) although time is still required for the stabilization of the situation in Iraq, stability in Iraq is important for both the stability of the entire Middle East region and the international community as a whole.

In addition, Prime Minister Spidla strongly denounced the explosion at UN facilities as a grievous attack, with which Prime Minister Koizumi concurred.

(The Issue of North Korea)

Prime Minister Koizumi noted that (1) (after giving a specific and detailed explanation concerning the background to the abduction issue and Japan's position) the issue of North Korea is a grave concern for Japanese foreign relations and at the upcoming six party talks, regardless of the nuclear development issue of North Korea which will be brought to the table, Japan is putting equal emphasis on the abduction issue. The United States, Republic of Korea, China and Russia have agreed with Japan on the principle of a peaceful and diplomatic solution on this issue, although it would be difficult to reach a solution of this issue; and (2) the Czech Republic has had long diplomatic relations with North Korea and when the opportunity arises it would be most appreciated if the Czech Republic would persuade North Korea to act as a member of the international community, not isolating itself from it.

Prime Minister Spidla responded that (1) the Czech Republic also has a great interest in this issue and is closely following developments in the situation, and that nuclear proliferation could not be tolerated by the international community as has been the case of India and Pakistan last year; (2) the Czech Republic has diplomatic relations with North Korea and it would like to cooperate with Japan as much as possible; and (3) the Czech Republic will join the EU next year and that its position is identical to the position announced by the EU in the EU-Japan Joint Statement which is in full support of Japan's position.


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