"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Joint Press Statement by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Iran and Japan on the occasion of the official visit of Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Japan

[Date] December 24, 1998
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

1. At the invitation of Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura of Japan, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi of the Islamic Republic of Iran visited Japan from 21 to 24 December 1998.

During his visit, Foreign Minister Kharrazi called on Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, Speaker of the House of Representatives Soichiro Ito and Foreign Minister Koumura. These meetings were held in a friendly and constructive atmosphere of mutual respect, and both sides discussed various aspects of bilateral relations and underscored the promotion of the relations in political, economic, cultural, parliamentary and other fields.

2. On December 21, the two Foreign Ministers held a meeting in which they reviewed intensively various aspects of the bilateral relations, and discussed both regional and international issues of mutual interest. They highly appreciated the existing friendly bilateral relations and expressed their shared resolve to further strengthen such relationship by promoting dialogue and cooperation at all levels.

3. Foreign Minister Koumura welcomed the President Khatami's initiative in designating the year 2001 as the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations and the adoption of the relevant Resolution by the 53rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. In this context, they welcomed a proposal to hold a "Seminar on Iran-Japan Cooperation in the 21st Century" as a valuable opportunity to facilitate such intellectual dialogues. To this end, they shared their resolve to establish a steering committee, composed of high level experts, two from each side, first to define terms of reference of the Seminar and then to work out its actual schedule. Both sides expressed their intention to hold the first seminar attended by government officials and relevant representatives from broad segments of society at an appropriate time in 1999. Its venue will be determined in due course.

4. The two Ministers reviewed the recent developments concerning Iraq, and welcomed the cessation of military action against it. The Iranian side explained efforts made by Iran in this regard as the current chair of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which was duly appreciated by the Japanese side. They expressed their hope for political solutions to the crisis.

Further, the two Ministers called upon the Iraqi Government to comply fully and immediately with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) as well as its own commitment to the United Nations. Noting with sympathy for the sufferings of the Iraqi people, they expressed their support for the relevant UNSCRs which address humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people.

The two Ministers also shared their intention to continue consultations on this issue in the future.

5. The two Ministers exchanged their views on the Middle East and emphasized the importance of realizing a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in that region, respecting the legitimate rights of the Palestinians.

6. The two Ministers expressed their deep concern over the continuing military conflict in Afghanistan and shared the conviction that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict and that only a political settlement, aimed at the establishment of a fully representative and broad-based government, can lead to peace and reconciliation. They also underlined the importance of sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan and called on all countries to strictly refrain from any interference and to cease immediately and definitely any military support to any parties in Afghanistan. To this end, they regard unconditional and immediate implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1193 and 1214 as a principled basis for all the conflicting parties to settle existing differences.

The Japanese side also appreciated the humanitarian assistance that so far has been extended to Afghan refugees by the Iranian Government and expressed its readiness to extend the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects which is useful for benefiting the Afghan refugees in Iran and for facilitating their repatriation to Afghanistan.

The Iranian side appreciated the efforts of the Government of Japan in hosting the Fourth Meeting of the Afghanistan Support Group on December 7 and 8 in Tokyo as a constructive step to boost international commitment to support Afghan people under the present difficult situations.

7. The two Ministers also expressed their concern over the enormous scale of illicit production of narcotics in Afghanistan and their trafficking from Afghanistan, and viewed this as a serious threat to the region as well as to the international community. In this connection, the Japanese side expressed its support for and appreciation to Iran's serious efforts to combat drug trafficking and expressed its readiness to extend financial contribution to appropriate UNDCP programs that may benefit these efforts.

8. The two Ministers recognized the importance of economic and industrial development of the Central Asian and Caucasus States for consolidating peace and stability in the region and expressed their intention to pursue possible cooperation between the two countries. In this context, they reaffirmed their commitment to facilitate the implementation of Foreign Minister Koumura's proposal made in April 1998 to hold a joint technical seminar for Iran as well as its neighboring countries.

9. The two Ministers shared their commitment to cooperate even further in various activities of the United Nations, noting the important role that it plays for maintaining international peace and security and for resolving global issues such as the preservation of the environment, promotion of all human rights, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and combating terrorism.

They expressed their support for the reform of the United Nations, in a balanced manner as a whole. They attached particular importance to the reform of the Security Council including the expansion of its membership and its working methods.

10. The two Ministers strongly condemned terrorism as a grave threat to humanity and democratic values and processes, and jointly voiced strong condemnation of all acts of terrorism anywhere in the world. They underlined that international cooperation is crucial to combat terrorism, and expressed their determination to become parties to all existing global anti-terrorism conventions at an earliest possible date.

11. The two Ministers expressed their determination to strive further in the field of arms control and disarmament, especially in the field of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. They reconfirmed their commitment to uphold the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. They emphasized the need to ensure and facilitate the peaceful use of nuclear energy by the bona fide NPT adherent states under the IAEA full scope safeguard. They also shared the view on the urgent need for states not parties to the NPT to accede to it without delay and without conditions. They expressed their support for the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the establishment of Middle East Nuclear Weapons free zone.

They reached common recognition that the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) needs to enter into force at an early date and called upon all states to do their utmost for this purpose, thus contributing to the early achievement of its universality. They also intend to work together to bring the negotiation on a fissile material cutoff treaty to an early and successful conclusion.

They also emphasized the importance of the greater universality and full implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as the early conclusion of the negotiation on the protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention.

The two Ministers recognized the danger posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, especially in the sensitive regions.

They expressed their intention to hold the first Director-General level talks on arms control and disarmament in January 1999.

12. The two Ministers exchanged their views on the current economic conditions of the respective countries as well as of the world. In this respect, they noted with serious concern the financial difficulties oil exporting countries are experiencing due to the recent lowering of oil prices.

The two Ministers also discussed concrete measures to be taken by both sides to enhance mutual economic transactions, in particular investment. The Japanese side appreciated the Iranian initiative of holding an investment seminar in Osaka in October 1998 as an effective step to promote understanding of the environment for investment in Iran by the Japanese business community, and they expressed their hope that such seminars would be held by the Iranian side more regularly in the future. The Iranian side welcomed the Keidanren mission in July 1998, and they expressed their hope of sending such missions more frequently to Iran so that Japanese business leaders would have better understanding of business opportunities in Iran.

13. The two Ministers reconfirmed the need to further expand bilateral cooperation in such areas as economic, technical, cultural and consular fields, and emphasized the need to constantly explore their progress and exchange views among the relevant officials on ways and means to expand such cooperation. In this regard, they expressed their intention to continue bilateral consultations including Foreign Ministers' meetings on various occasions, Deputy Foreign Ministers' consultations, and Director-General level talks on regional issues, cultural exchanges and consular affairs, etc.

14. The two Ministers highlighted the significance of cultural exchanges and cooperation between the two countries including mutual exchange in various fields. They welcomed the Cultural Weeks held at the respective capitals and hoped to continue such events in the future. The Japanese side expressed its readiness to accept approximately 50 Japanese Government Scholarship students for the next three years. The Japanese side expressed its intention to continue to support activities for the preservation of valuable cultural heritage in Iran.

The two Ministers also welcomed a proposal to hold, with academic and financial support of the UNU (United Nations University), seminars on the economic development of Iran and neighboring countries as a valuable effort aiming at further promoting international cooperation, and intended to hold such a seminar in Tokyo or Tehran in the autumn of 1999.

15. The two Ministers reviewed the current situation of technical cooperation between the two countries, and instructed officials concerned on each side to facilitate the ongoing programs and to initiate new ones. To this end, they shared their intention to hold a consultation in the next fiscal year. The Japanese side expressed its readiness to accommodate 300 JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) Trainees from Iran for the next three years.

16. The two Ministers shared the view that tourism could become an effective economic instrument with significant potential for growth. In this connection, both sides expressed their intention to explore the possibilities of cooperation in this area. As a first step, the Japanese side expressed its readiness to hold a seminar in Iran to examine necessary infrastructure and system for promoting tourism industry, especially one aiming at attracting increased tourists from Japan.

17. Foreign Minister Kharrazi expressed his gratitude for the warm and cordial hospitality extended by the Japanese side and invited Foreign Minister Koumura to visit Iran. Foreign Minister Koumura appreciated the invitation and expressed his intention to visit Iran in principle during the year of 1999. The precise date of the visit will be coordinated through the diplomatic channels.

Issued in Tokyo on December 24, 1998