Spanish Version

His Excellency Mr. Carlos Saul Menem, President of the Argentine RepublicVisit to Japan of His Excellency Mr. Carlos Saul Menem, President of the Argentine Republic

- In Celebration of the Centenary of Friendship between Japan and Argentina, and for Building up New Friendly and Cooperative Relations-

October 1998
Latin American and Caribbean Affairs Bureau
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

His Excellency Mr. Carlos Saul Menem, President of the Argentine Republic, will visit Japan as a state guest from December 1-4, together with his daughter Miss Zulema Maria Eva Menem and prominent members of the Argentine Cabinet.

This will be the fourth time in history that a President of the Argentine Republic has paid a state visit to Japan, the last time being 12 years ago, when former President Raul Alfonsin visited in 1986. President Menem visited Japan in January 1990, in order to attend the Ceremony of the Enthronement of His Majesty the Emperor, and also made an official working visit to Japan in December 1993. His upcoming state visit to Japan is significant for the following reasons.

1. Celebration of the Centenary of Friendship between Japan and Argentina, and further strengthening and expansion of bilateral relations

1) The countries of the Latin American region have generally regarded Japan with friendship and the Argentine Republic has, of all these countries, been one of the most friendly toward Japan over the past 100 years, whether during the Russo-Japanese War, World War II, or the post-war period. In spite of the great distance separating the two countries geographically, relations between Japan and Argentina have developed very favorably, partly because of the presence of immigrants of Japanese descent in Argentina.

2) Since the beginning of the 1990s, the Latin American region has most strongly reflected global trends such as general acceptance of a market-oriented economy under democratic systems, and the development of a borderless economy. Indicative of these changes, over the last few years the Republic of Argentina has added to its potential for future growth, which is underpinned by its rich natural resources, by rapidly promoting economic liberalization, deregulation and privatization under stable political conditions, thereby achieving a most impressive degree of economic reconstruction. Argentina has also played a pivotal role within the movement toward economic integration of the Latin American region. The strengthening of Japan's economic ties with Argentina has thus become a matter of urgent importance.

3) Furthermore, under the administration of President Menem, the Republic of Argentina has regarded diplomatic relations with Japan as one of the three pillars of its diplomacy along with relations with the United States and Europe, and is making efforts to further strengthen its diplomatic relations with Japan. Relations between the two countries have continued to grow in recent years, as demonstrated by the visits of such dignitaries as then-Minister for Foreign Affairs Yohei Kono in 1994, Minister of Foreign Affairs Guido Di Tella in 1996, and Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan in 1997.

Especially during this year, which marks the Centenary of Friendship between Japan and Argentina, the peoples of both countries have shown more than ever before a growing interest in each other, as demonstrated by the wide variety of cultural events held throughout the year and interchange among people, particularly the visit of Prince and Princess Akishino to Argentina. As part of these developments, President Menem's visit to Japan, during the Centenary of Friendship between Japan and Argentina, promotes mutual understanding between the two countries and offers an excellent opportunity for relations between them to grow more rapidly in preparation for the 21st century. During his visit to Japan, the President will attend the Commemorative Ceremony of the Centenary of Friendship between Japan and Argentina, which will be held on 2 December.

2. Enhancement of Japan's cooperative relations with Argentina, whose role in the international community is growing

Recently, the Republic of Argentina has been pursuing outstanding diplomatic activities within the post-cold-war international community, promoting peace-keeping operations (PKO), disarmament, and the resolution of such global problems as environmental degradation. Argentina is also showing much energy in its formulation of diplomatic policies that emphasize stronger relations with industrialized countries. On many occasions, Argentina has shared Japan's diplomatic stance at the United Nations and in other venues, and is well able to discuss, on equal terms, a broad range of issues affecting the international community, and to cooperate toward their resolution. President Menem's visit to Japan is therefore extremely significant, since it will foster the exchange of views on many subjects, regarding not only bilateral relations but also global issues, and will also promote a new cooperative relationship between the two countries.

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