"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] Strengthening the Relationship between Japan and the Arab League: Forging the Foundations for Peace and Prosperity, Statement by Dr. Tatsuo Arima, Special Envoy of the Government of Japan for the Middle East, on the Occasion of the Arab League Summit

[Date] March 30, 2009
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Mr. President,

The Most Honorable Heads of State and Government,


On behalf of the Government of Japan, I should like, first of all, to express my profound gratitude to the Government of the State of Qatar and the League of Arab States for giving us an opportunity once again to send a representative as an observer to the 21st Arab Summit here in Doha. I am most honored to be attending this Summit for the sixth time.

Relations between Japan and the Arab states have developed in a steady manner both in scope and depth. Japan and the Arab League have decided to launch the Japan-Arab Economic Forum towards the end of this year. We shall continue such efforts of ours to further strengthen our multi-layered relations with the Arab states going well beyond economics to the full spectrum of other fields, including politics, culture, and science and technology. In particular, Japan is willing to strengthen our cooperation in science and technology and education to benefit our future generations.

Japan hopes for the Arab states to overcome the various differences in their positions and act in unity to make efforts to enhance the peace and prosperity of this region. In this regard, Japan values highly the 1st Arab Economic and Social Development Summit and the recent Summit among Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Syria in Riyadh. Through such efforts as the Japan-Arab Economic Forum, Japan intends to help forge the foundations for peace and prosperity in this region by deepening its relations with the Arab League as a framework of critical importance for our regional cooperation.

The Middle East Peace Process

The realization of peace in the Middle East based on the "two-state solution" is essential for the regional and global peace and prosperity. Japan believes that the three actions are needed for this end: namely, first, the sincere efforts and commitments of Israel; second, the further reinforcement of the foundation for a Palestinian State; and third, the cooperation of the Arab League with the international community to facilitate the first two areas.

Amidst the current situation in which the peace process has stagnated as a result of the Israeli attacks on Gaza and the domestic political situations on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, we believe the international community should cooperate in order to reactivate the peace process expeditiously. Japan, together with the Arab League, will make its utmost efforts to direct the international public opinion towards this end.

Japan calls for the sincere efforts and commitments by the incoming Israeli government towards the realization of Middle East peace through the "two-state solution." In this regard, it will urge the incoming Israeli government to fulfill its obligations under the Roadmap, including the freezing of settlement activities and the easing of restrictions on access and movement.

Towards the establishment of a Palestinian state, Japan sincerely hopes for the reconciliation of the Palestinian factions to be achieved. Japan is convinced that the international community, in full support of President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority who continues his real efforts for achieving the peace, should prevent the formation of a unity government from stalling the peace process.

With regard to the situation of the Gaza Strip, Japan highly appreciates the mediation efforts of Egypt and other Arab states to realize the permanent cease-fire. The reconstruction of the Gaza Strip should be undertaken in a form that contributes to the establishment of a Palestinian state re-unifying the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In support of this, on the occasion of the International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza, Japan announced assistance of 200 million US dollars to the Palestinians in the coming years.

With a view to creating a Palestinian State, it is indispensable to realize stability of the security situation, improve the economic condition, and build judicial, legislative, and administrative governance structure. With the "Corridor for Peace and Prosperity" initiative we will support the creation of a viable state economy and continue to make efforts towards the establishment of a Palestinian state in the end.

Japan strongly hopes for the Arab states to act together through such efforts as the Arab Peace Initiative. Japan appreciates and supports the Arab Peace Initiative, and it will continue to call on Israel to make serious engagement with this initiative.

Japan hopes that all the parties concerned and the Arab League will make efforts to realize comprehensive peace in the Middle East, including the Syria track and the Lebanon track, and will continue to provide support to this end.

Syria and Lebanon

The normalization of the relations between Syria and Lebanon is important in ensuring the overall stability of the region. Japan welcomes the establishment of diplomatic relations between Syria and Lebanon announced last year and we await the mutual dispatch of ambassadors at an early date. Furthermore, we welcome the establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and will make the utmost efforts for its success.


Japan highly appreciates the support of the Arab League for the Government of Iraq and the Iraqi political process, including the recent visit by Secretary General Amre Moussa to Iraq. We welcome the momentum towards nation-building by the Iraqi people, including the recent improvements in the Iraqi security situation and the peaceful implementation of the provincial elections, and yet we also recognize that support from the international community will continue to be important in order to make such momentum increasingly assured.

Japan has provided support to Iraq to the fullest extent possible, including the dispatch of its Self-Defense Forces for humanitarian and reconstruction purposes and recently a business mission, the provision of ODA of approximately five billion US dollars and debt relief of approximately six billion US dollars. We will continue to engage in reconstruction assistance through soft loans and technical cooperation as well as through the strengthening of economic and business relations.

Sudan and Darfur

Japan appreciates efforts made by Qatar, Egypt, Libya, the Arab League, the African Union, and others towards stabilizing the situation in Darfur. Japan will also continue to contribute to this end.

Regarding the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Japan, as a State Party to the ICC, respects the independence and decisions of the Court. At the same time, Japan hopes this decision will not affect the peace process in Darfur. We urge both the Sudanese Government and anti-governmental movements in Sudan to refrain from any actions that would have negative effects on their cooperation with the AU and the UN, the North-South peace process, the peace process in Darfur, and the humanitarian and security situation. Japan believes the international community including the Arab League needs to be united to resolutely seek a solution which reconciles "peace" with "justice" in Darfur.

In this regard, Japan is seriously concerned about the decision by the Government of Sudan on March 4 to expel 13 international NGOs and to order the dissolution of three domestic NGOs, as this decision seriously affects the humanitarian and reconstruction assistance activities not only in Darfur but throughout Sudan. Based on the Joint Communique signed by the Government of Sudan and the UN in March 2007, Japan calls on the Government of Sudan to cooperate with the UN and international NGOs so that they can continue their humanitarian assistance activities in Darfur.


The rampant acts of piracy at sea off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden are a threat to the entire international community including Japan. This is an issue which requires urgent action. The Government of Japan has submitted the so-called "Draft Anti-Piracy Measures Law" to the Diet, and has dispatched two vessels of the Self-Defense Fleet. Actual operation starts on March 30.

To eradicate acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia, Japan is determined to provide assistance for the capacity-building of maritime security, enhancing regional cooperation to the neighboring countries of Somalia, as well as take additional necessary measures to stabilize the volatile situation in Somalia.

At the same time, it is our intention to participate proactively in the international community's efforts to tackle towards these ends.


For the realization of comprehensive peace in the Middle East, it is important that the Arab states engage in cooperation fully in concert. In this respect, once again Japan appreciates the role which the Arab League has played for the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1860, the International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza and for other issues.

Japan is determined to contribute to the peace and prosperity in this region, through helping the realization of comprehensive peace in the Middle East and its engagement in bettering the situations in Iraq and Sudan. Moreover, we wish to further deepen our cooperative relationship with the Arab League, thereby to contribute towards forging the foundations for peace and prosperity of this region.

Thank you very much.