Japan-UK Summit Meeting (Overview)
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi held a summit meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Hakone on July 19.
Having held talks in London, St. Petersburg and Evian during April through June, the two leaders discussed various international issues in a relaxed atmosphere during a stay in Hakone while deepening their personal relations.
The meeting began with one-on-one talks between the two leaders for an hour, followed by an expanded session for 30 minutes. In the one-on-one talks, they discussed such issues as North Korea, Iraq, Iran, the world as a whole after the Iraq war, the roles of Japan and the UK in the international community, and the United Nations reform. The expanded session focused on bilateral relations. The summit meeting was followed by a joint press conference and then a dinner (attended also by Mrs. Blair).
The two leaders stayed for the night in Hakone and chatted together for a short time the following morning.
1. North Korea
Prime Minister Koizumi stated that (a) North Korea is insisting on bilateral talks with the United States with the aim of obtaining a guarantee for the current regime and (b) the position of the US is that there should be multilateral talks, and that Japan argues strongly the participation of Japan and the Republic of Korea in such multilateral consultations is essential. In response, Prime Minister Blair said that the UK fully supports the participation of Japan and the Republic of Korea.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Koizumi stated that (a) while the nuclear problem is extremely serious for the international community, the abduction issues are also very important for Japan; (b) a comprehensive settlement of the issues is necessary; and (c) it is necessary for the international community to act in concert without overreacting to North Korea's provocations.
Prime Minister Koizumi explained Special Measures Bill for Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq that was before the Japanese Diet. In reply to a question from Prime Minister Blair, Prime Minister Koizumi explained that even after enactment of the bill, dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) will be decided carefully with a due regard to the situation and that at the present time no decisions have been made on place, scale, and so on. Even before dispatch of the SDF, he explained, Japan wants to provide as much civilian support as possible.
After introducing Japan's cooperation with Egypt in the field of medical support, Prime Minister Koizumi said that it is important for Japan to expand friendly and cooperative relations with Arab countries and that this will lend support for the US and the UK. In response, Prime Minister Blair highly appreciated this policy, saying that, if realized, it will be an extremely significant contribution, and stressed that support for the reconstruction of Iraq is important because Iraq is an affluent country that can lead the whole of the Middle East region toward democratization and development.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Blair stated that the final test for evaluating the action taken by the US and the UK is whether Iraq will become a better country through support for reconstruction. Prime Minister Blair said that the current progress in the Middle East peace process would not have been made without the present developments in Iraq. He also said that most of the Iraqi people want the UK to remain until the situation becomes stable.
The two leaders shared the views that concern is mounting in the international community about the proliferation of nuclear weapons, that it is important for the international community to apply pressure in unison to eliminate that concern, that it is necessary to support the reformists, and that the reconstruction of neighboring Iraq could be a model and exert a positive impact.
4. The World After the Iraq War
Prime Minister Blair said that the minimization of dangers to the international community, such as North Korea and Iraq, the involvement of the US in the Middle East peace process, and the relaxation of tension between India and Pakistan are important and that Japan's political role in the international community is welcomed. The two leaders shared the view that the coordination of the international community centered on the US and the United Nations is important and that the US also recognizes the importance of international coordination.
5. United Nations Reform
Prime Minister Blair stated that the international community is concerned with the roles of the United Nations and the Security Council and that, relating to the reform of the U.N. Security Council, the UK believes that Japan's argument that it wants to play a role as a permanent member is persuasive.
6. Expanded Session
(1) Bilateral issues
Prime Minister Blair clearly announced the participation of the UK in the 2005 World Exposition in Aichi. Prime Minister Koizumi expressed gratitude for his announcement.
(2) Joint Statements on Information and Communications Technology, Science and Technology, and the Environment
The two leaders issued joint statements on information and communication technology ("Working Together as Leading E-Nations"), science and technology ("Japan-UK Science and Technology Partnership"), and environment ("Tackling Environmental Challenges Together"). Prime Minister Koizumi stated that compatibility between the environment and the economy is necessary, that science and technology is the key to this matter, and that this compatibility will be achieved by the development of science and technology. Prime Minister Blair fully agreed with Prime Minister Koizumi. The two leaders also shared the view that early entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol is necessary.
(3) Investment, Tourism, and Euro
Prime Minister Koizumi explained about the promotion of two-way investment and Japan's plan to double the number of incoming tourists. Prime Minister Blair pointed out the importance of investment for the UK by Japanese companies. Regarding the euro, he said that the direction toward the participation have been established, the only remaining problem is that of timing, and that it is important to make sure of the convergence of the UK and EU economic cycles.
7. Press Conference
In a press conference held after the meeting, the main points in the opening statements by the two leaders were as follows:
Prime Minister Koizumi praised Prime Minister Blair's determination regarding the Iraq issue, expressed hope for the display of this leadership in the development of both Japan and the UK, and said that he would work in recognition of the importance of Japan-UK relations, holding close consultations between the two countries.
Prime Minister Blair said that the important result of the summit meeting this time was the recognition that cooperative bilateral relations must be strengthened not only on the economic side but also on the political side. He said that Japan and the UK share basic values and perspectives and that cooperation with key partners, such as the US, is important toward the future.
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