Address by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
on the Latin American and Caribbean Policies
- Toward a New Japan-Latin America and Caribbean Partnership -
(Venue: a luncheon meeting hosted by the Governor of Sao Paulo)
15 September 2004
Honorable Mr. Geraldo Alckmin, Governor of the State of Sao Paolo,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I'd like to extend my gratitude to Governor Alckmin of Sao Paulo for the warm welcome I've received and for giving me this opportunity to speak before such a diverse and important audience. This year is the 450th anniversary of the foundation of the Sao Paolo City, and it is my great honor and pleasure to be able to visit during such a commemorative year.
This is my first visit to South America. However, for a long time, Sao Paolo has been a city I've especially wanted to visit. My cousin moved to Sao Paolo and lived here for many years, so I personally feel close to this city. I am happy that at long last, my wish has been fulfilled. Stefan Zweig, the author of "Brazil: A Land of the Future," wrote that Sao Paolo cannot be captured in one picture. Nowhere in Brazil, nor in any other major city in the world, is there a place that has thrown itself into such ambitious and dynamic development. Since arriving yesterday, I've had the honor of seeing this city and its people and experiencing Sao Paolo's overflowing vibrancy.
Today, I'd like to present a new vision of Japan and Latin America's future. Sao Paolo, an evolving and forward-looking city, is an appropriate place to discuss our future.
(Japan and Latin America and the Caribbean)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
"Person-to-person bonds" anchor Japan and Latin America. The approximately 300 thousand Japanese immigrants living in the region laid that important cornerstone. Coupled with their descendants, there are now over 1.5 million people of Japanese descent residing in Latin America. Already, over one century has passed since the first Japanese immigrants arrived in Mexico. Here in Brazil, the Kasato Maru, the boat carrying the first Japanese immigrants, landed in Santos Harbor in 1908, and in 2008, we will mark the 100th anniversary of that landing. This morning, I stood before the Pioneer Memorial Tombstone in Ibirapuera Park and was deeply moved. With unflagging effort, those people overcame many hardships so that each could establish a strong set of roots in this society, and those pioneers have become a bridge connecting Japan and Latin America. I want to convey my deep respect for them. At the same time, I'm grateful to the Latin American society that accepted them with a spirit of tolerance and inclusiveness.
In Japan, we have welcomed over 330 thousand Latin Americans, including approximately 270 thousand Brazilians. These people, with their cultures and values that are new to Japan, have influenced my country and made Japanese society richer and more diverse. Young Japanese people have classmates of Brazilian descent, and as a result, they have cultivated an interest in Latin America, and some of these youths have come abroad to study here.
The interchange between Japan and Brazil and between Japan and Latin America is expanding our base. But as in the past, person-to-person bonds have anchored our relationship. I am confident that in the future, there will continue to be a warm relationship between "amigos (= friends)."
Many Latin American countries have overcome numerous adversities, including military governments and civil wars in the past, plus economic crises, and in some cases, large-scale natural disasters, to achieve the peace and stability that they enjoy today. In order to strengthen the foundation of democracy and develop a market economy, the unremitting effort of each of these countries is indispensable. As a nation that shares those values, Japan would like to continue to support the reform efforts of Latin American countries.
On the economic front, for a long time, Japan has been Latin America's most stable trade and investment partner in Asia. However, due to the Latin American debt crisis in the 1980s and my country's economic stagnation in the 1990s, our vigorous economic relationship of the past has cooled on both sides. But there is still strong potential for developing the economic relationship between Japan and Latin America. Thus, it seems best to outline a new vision for the future of Japanese and Latin American relationships.
("A Vision for a New Japan - Latin America and Caribbean Partnership")
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Divided by the Pacific Ocean but facing each other, East Asia and Latin America are the most dynamically developing regions in the world. To strengthen our efforts in tapping into the "great potential" for our mutual benefit, we need to follow the two guiding principles of "Cooperation" and "Exchange."
<- Cooperation ->
The first principle is "Cooperation." It consists of two pillars; "reactivating the economic relationship" and "addressing challenges of the international community."
To realize the latent potential of Japan and Latin America, the most important issue is reactivating our economic relationship. Latin America possesses the dynamism of development, a market of 530 million people, a wide expanse of land, rich natural resources, and an excellent, young workforce. On the other hand, Japan has experience in developing an economy based on democracy and the marketplace, the world's second largest economy, an abundant workforce, capital, and cutting-edge technology. I am confident that if Japan and Latin America, who possess such complementary characteristics, decide to cooperate, it will lead to mutual benefits for both parties.
The day after tomorrow, with President Fox of Mexico, I will sign the "Agreement between Japan and the United Mexican States for the strengthening of the Economic Partnership," the first EPA between Japan and a Latin American country. The purposes of the Agreement are to promote a freer trans-border flow of goods, persons, services and capital between Japan and Mexico. The Agreement also aims to promote a comprehensive economic partnership, which includes competition, improvement of business environment and bilateral cooperation in such fields as vocational education and training and support for small and medium size enterprises. I expect that this will not only invigorate Japan and Mexico's economic exchange, but that it will also become a scaffold to strengthen the relationship between Japan and Latin America.
With Brazil as the nucleus that led to the formation of the Mercosur group, the economic integration of each region of the Americas is swiftly progressing. In concert with this trend, my country, too, would like to work with governments and with the private sector to forge a closer economic relationship with Latin America. In November of this year, the APEC summit conference will be held in Chile. This seems like an ideal opportunity to deepen our discussion of invigorating the economic exchange between Asia and Latin America.
Energy, minerals, and edible resources are indispensable to making possible the sustained growth of the world economy. Endowed with energy and rich natural resources, Latin America continues to grow in importance. To my country, which has few natural resources, securing a stable supply of resources in the mid to long term is an issue of grave importance. During the 1960s and the 1970s, Japan invested heavily in various sectors of Brazil, including iron manufacturing, pulp, aluminum, and agricultural ventures, as part of a national project to develop Brazilian resources. Many Japanese enterprises moved to Brazil and contributed to the country's economic development.
Yesterday, I got on a plane arranged by the Brazilian government and had the honor of viewing from the sky, the vast plantation in Prado Polis, in the State of Sao Paolo. It once again impressed upon me, Brazil's development and her strong potential. I really felt that Brazil possessed a great deal of energy and edible resources. In the past five years, as part of Japan's commitment to developing Latin American resources, Brazil has received a total of approximately $5.8 billion of financial assistance through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation to support development of the Campos Basin oil fields. I anticipate that this kind of cooperation will vigorously continue in the future.
I also want to highlight the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America, the Plan Puebla-Panama, and other initiatives being promoted in both South and Central America in promoting the unification of Latin America. Rugged mountains and lush green forests divide Latin America into large expanses. If infrastructure projects could join the region north to south and east to west, then both the promotion of regional integration and the development of the entire region would more quickly accelerate. Recognizing that the maintenance of infrastructure is an important postulate of economic and social development, my country is distributing approximately $4.6 billion of cooperation for Latin American countries in that same area. In Sao Paolo yesterday, as I traveled from the airport toward the city, I visited the Tiete River Basin Depollution Project. I was pleased to see the positive impact of the flooding countermeasures that had been taken as a result of this cooperation.
The second pillar of the "Cooperation" in Japan and Latin America's relationship is addressing challenges of the international community. Japan and Latin America can cooperate for the maintenance of international peace and stability. In order to effectively tackle various challenges, such as inter-state conflicts, the reconstruction of Iraq, fight against terrorism, the disarmament and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, peace-building, and HIV/AIDS, we must strengthen the United Nations, not bypass it. Above all, it is a challenge of the entire international community to reform the Security Council by expanding both permanent and non-permanent categories, so that collective action taken by the United Nations would be more effective and credible.
Japan and Latin America can cooperate together to achieve prosperity for the global community. We share common interests in maintaining and strengthening the multilateral free trading system. For the steady growth of the world economy and to support developing nations, we must lead the present Doha Development Agenda negotiations to success. Let us focus on our common goals and work together toward their end.
In order to make the sustainable prosperity of the world community possible, we also need to strike a balance between economic development and protecting the environment. Through the Three R's--Reduce, Reuse, Recycle--I hope to build a sound material-cycle society on a global level. Global warming is also a problem of great magnitude and urgency, one that cannot be set aside, even for an instant. In December of this year, the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP10) will be held in Buenos Aires, where Latin America's leadership will be sought and highly valued. I hope we can work together to achieve early entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, so we can leave a better earth for the next generation.
<- Exchange ->
The second guideline toward strengthening the relationship of Japan and Latin America is "Exchange." Based on the friendship we had cultivated along the way, we need to build a deeper mutual understanding and a more solid sense of trust. For that reason, we must overcome the physical distance and the barriers to information exchange that separate us.
We are already dismantling some of those barriers. All of Japan calls the Japanese national soccer team, lead by Coach Zico, "Zico's Japan," and people hold great expectations for the team. Over 50 Latin American athletes have played on Japan's professional soccer teams, and many young Japanese soccer players have gone to South America to study the game. We enjoy listening to bossa nova and reggae music; both have garnered a broad-ranging fan base in Japan.
However, we still need more opportunities to understand and interact with each other. Above all, we should create opportunities for our young people to study, understand, and respect each other's history, culture, society, and values on a first-hand basis. To that end, five years from now, Japan will invite roughly four thousand young people in total, including exchange students, from Latin American countries. I picture the young people who had crossed the Pacific Ocean becoming the ones who build upon the relations between Japan and Latin America 20, or 30 years into the future.
Additionally, one valuable place where East Asia and Latin America can advance this new relationship is at the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation, where Japan will perform a leading role. Japan resolves to host the Ministerial Meeting at an appropriate time in the future.
Japan is the country in Asia that has forged ties with Latin America over the longest period of time. I strongly hope that Japan will continue to be Latin America's most reliable and important partner in the future.
In August, I enjoyed watching many Athens Olympic games on TV. I was impressed by the fact that Latin American athletes participated in a wide range of events, including football, volleyball and yacht racing. In particular, many people of the world will remember the performance of marathoner Vanderlei de Lima during the men's marathon. I remember repeatedly seeing his pleasant smile despite the difficulties he suffered. Mr. De Lima not only overcoming various hardships and crossed the bridge to a medal, but at the same time, he built a bridge to everyone's heart.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Wouldn't it be best to build a "Bridge of Friendship" across the Pacific Ocean between Japan and Brazil, and Latin America? Already, we enjoy the base of friendship founded by our ancestors over 100 years ago.
The renowned Brazilian sociologist Gilberto de Mello Freyre stated that we should consider Brazil as a guide for the future of modern civilization. I would like to end my speech by saying that in the new millennium, as we build a solid "Bridge of Friendship," I hope that Brazil will perform exactly the kind of vital role that Freyre describes.
Thank you for your attention.
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