Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 212 (November 24, 2005)
[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
On Monday, November 21, I met President Vladimir Putin of Russia in my office during his visit to Japan. We later talked over a Japanese dinner in the Japanese-style room of my official residence. This year is a milestone year marking the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Russia. Japan-Russia relations are steadily growing in a wide range of areas based on the Japan-Russia Action Plan adopted in 2003.
Next year, the G8 Summit will be in St. Petersburg, Russia, and I will be attending it. Including my visit to Russia, President Putin and I agreed to boost the consultations between Japan and Russia at various levels of government.
Our two nations are considerably divided over the issue of the Northern Territories. Nevertheless, President Putin and I share the view that it is our duty as leaders to continue serious discussions premised on our policy of resolving this issue and concluding a peace treaty at the earliest possible date.
Japan and Russia currently enjoy good relations which are better than ever. Some forecasts predict that our total trade volume will exceed 10 billion dollars this year. On visits between the two countries, we agreed that we would aim to triple the number of visits our people make to each others' countries to roughly 400,000 people over the next three years.
Japan and Russia, having made the transition through the Soviet era to its emergence as the Russian Federation, as countries sharing the common values of freedom, democracy and market economy, will broaden our areas of cooperation. In the process, I hope we can bridge the difference of views between our two countries and create a favorable environment for concluding a peace treaty in the future.
Last weekend, I attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in Busan, Republic of Korea (ROK). Busan is the country's second largest city situated in the southeastern part of the Korean Peninsula with a population of approximately four million. It is also the hometown of President Roh Moo Hyun. Busan is an exciting and vibrant city surrounded by a vast expanse of turquoise blue water and scenic hills, and streets lined with modern buildings.
Twenty-one countries and regions of Asia and the Pacific participated in the APEC meeting and discussed wide-ranging themes including liberalization of trade and investment, protection of intellectual property rights, energy issues, counter-terrorism measures, and the spread of avian influenza. We also agreed to hold the 2010 APEC meetings in Japan.
On the fringes of the meetings, I met with leaders of many countries. President Roh and I were able to exchange frankly our views on matters of common interest to Japan and the ROK such as Japan-ROK relations and North Korea issues. President Ricardo Lagos Escobar of Chile and I agreed to launch negotiations on an economic partnership agreement (EPA) between Japan and Chile. Prime Minister Paul Martin of Canada and I signed the Japan-Canada Economic Framework and confirmed our commitment to advancing an innovative economic relationship.
I made the following remarks at the APEC forum.
"I am an advocate of the friendship between Japan and China and between Japan and the ROK. There is absolutely no change in my position. I am not too worried about the future of Japan-China relations and Japan-ROK relations. I, together with the Government of Japan and the Japanese people, fully recognize the importance of the friendly ties between Japan and China and Japan and the ROK. Even if there is disagreement or conflict over a single issue, we must not let this damage our overall friendly relationship. That is my belief, and I am sure you all agree with me."
"Sixty years ago the United States (US) and Japan had an adversarial relationship. Japan and the US are now, however, the best of allies and friends. President Tran Duc Luong of Viet Nam was also present and seated next to President George W. Bush. Although the US and Viet Nam had an adversarial relationship thirty years ago, the two countries are now expanding their friendly relationship."
"Also among the attendants was President Alejandro Toledo of Peru, and we agreed not to let our current issue over former President Alberto Fujimori harm the further development of friendly relations between Japan and Peru."
"It is essential that we never let a single dispute or disagreement over a specific issue damage our overall relations. Considering the mutual benefits we receive, Japan-China and Japan-ROK relations are extremely vital. Whether economically, culturally, in sports or people-to-people exchanges, our relations with both countries are deepening to levels never before seen. Even if there is disagreement over a single issue in the short-run, we must continue to make efforts to ensure that this issue does not worsen our relations in the mid- and long-run. I believe we will come to understand each other over time."
This is my basic position on diplomacy. In the coming months, I will continue to further deepen our friendly relations with various countries wherein the Japan-US alliance and international coordination form the basis of Japan's diplomacy.
* The title of this column "Lion Heart" is a reference to the Prime Minister's lion-like hairstyle and his unbending determination to advance structural reform.
- Japan-Russia Summit Meeting (November 21, 2005)
- The Second Day of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (November 19, 2005)
- The First Day of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (November 18, 2005)
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