Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 215 (December 15, 2005)
[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
This week, I flew to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to attend the ASEAN+3 Summit Meeting held with the participation of the ASEAN member countries, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea (ROK), as well as the first East Asia Summit (EAS), which welcomed the participation of Australia, India and New Zealand in addition to the above countries.
In the recent years, the East Asian countries have developed unprecedentedly close ties, and exchange continues to expand. Over the past decade, Japan's trade volume quadrupled with China, doubled with the ROK, and grew to 1.5 times with the ASEAN countries. Furthermore, more and more economic partnership agreements including tariff elimination are underway.
Although the East Asian countries are enjoying intensified economic relations, they are faced with an increasing number of issues which they must together tackle, ranging from the fight against international terrorism, reconstruction from the disaster caused by the large-scale earthquake off the coast of Sumatra and the subsequent tsunami, to countermeasures against pirates and those against avian influenza. The environment and energy are also issues which require cooperative efforts of the countries in this region.
The East Asia region boasts an unmatched level of diversity in the level of economic development, culture, ethnicity, religion, language, political system, and other characteristics. It is wonderful that the leaders of the 16 countries agreed to together create a prosperous and stable East Asia, keeping in mind the formulation of an East Asian community in the years to come.
A few of the leaders voiced concerns over Japan-China relations during the meeting between Japan and the ten ASEAN member countries. I have explained in detail that, "Over the course of 60 years since the end of the War, the country and people of Japan developed in peace and have done everything in our power for the peace and development of the world while holding close to our hearts a firm resolve to never engage in a war. I do not understand the logic of not holding a summit meeting just because our views differ on one issue--the Yasukuni Shirine. I am an advocate of the friendship between Japan and China, and am prepared to meet the leader of China at any time."
I had individual meetings with the leaders of Viet Nam, Brunei, Indonesia, India, Singapore, New Zealand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Australia. I also had a chance to speak with the leaders of the ROK, China, the Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar on the fringes of the meetings. We shared our opinions on a wide array of topics from political and economic issues to culture and sports.
It had been four years since I last visited Kuala Lumpur. The atmosphere in the city surrounded by abundant greenery lined with skyscrapers including the Petronas Tower, the tallest twin-tower building in the world, at its center seemed increasingly vibrant. I sensed and saw a glimpse of the future East Asia full of energy as I enjoyed the beautiful view of the city untouched by earthquakes and typhoons.
I will further endeavor for the development of East Asia and to enhance our friendship with our neighboring countries.
* Editorial Note:
* 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.
- The ASEAN+3, Japan-ASEAN and East Asia Summit (EAS) Summit Meetings (December 12 to 13, 2005)
- "Tochigi Freshmates" Pay a Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (December 9, 2005)
- Decision on the extension of the Basic Plan regarding humanitarian and reconstruction assistance of the Self Defense Forces in Iraq (December 8, 2005)
- Prime Minister Meets with the King of Jordan (December 8, 2005)
- Reader's Comment on the e-mail magazine is available only to the subscribers.
- Click below to make comments on administration of Japan
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