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H. E. Mr. Taro Aso, Prime Minister

25 September 2008

Statement Summary

TASO ASO, Prime Minister of Japan, said that the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) had focused on a “Vibrant Africa”.  Some 51 Government delegations had attended the event, which had called for increased efforts to accelerate economic growth in Africa.  The participants had also expressed renewed determination to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in a sustainable manner, as well as fostering improvements in health, water, sanitation and education in Africa “on the basis of human security”.

He went on to say the recent Group of Eight (G-8) summit on Hokkaido had also addressed development.  Japan had invited a host of participants from Africa to ensure continued momentum from TICAD IV.  In hopes of continuing work on climate change, G-8 members agreed to seek adoption of a global long-term reduction in emissions, and the creation, under the auspices of the United Nations, of an effective framework for participation from all major economies on climate change issues.

Highlighting Japan’s efforts to promote cooperation and reconciliation around the world, he said his country had offered its assistance in diplomacy concerning the introduction of Israeli “drip irrigation” technology to the West Bank.  If such technology were utilized, the production of vegetables and other agricultural products in that area would dramatically increase.  Japan had also hosted Israeli and Palestinian high school students this summer to promote reconciliation.

Japan also hoped for a peaceful solution to the situation in Georgia, and expected to see a peaceful resolution of the issue, based on the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, with all the parties involved, including the Russian Federation, “acting in a responsible manner”.  He went on to pledge Japan’s proactive participation in the continued global fight against terrorism, as well as its commitment to Afghanistan’s reconstruction.

Turning to the situation in his region, he reiterated Japan’s continued commitment to the six-party talks regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and its nuclear programme.  At the same time, he stressed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had abducted Japanese citizens, and although that country had promised to begin an investigation into the matter, no action had been taken.

[Source: GA/10754]

Right of Reply (27 September 2008)

Also exercising the right of reply was the representative of Japan, responding to the statement made by the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Calling the statement “entirely groundless”, he said Japan could not accept it.   Japan had been facing its past with sincerity and consistency.  It had officially expressed remorse and apologized many times since the end of World War II.   Japan had been consistently dedicating itself for more than 60 years to promoting international peace and security, and to respecting democracy and human rights.

Further, Japan had consistently adhered to a position that international problems had to be resolved not militarily but, always, peacefully.  It must also be noted that Japan had been sincerely addressing the issue.  With regards to Japan’s position on Security Council reform, it had already been publicly noted and was well known.  Furthermore, Japan stood ready to contribute actively and constructively to international peace and security at any time.

[Source: GA/10757]