"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 Interaction by Prime Minister of India and Prime Minister of Japan

[Place] New Delhi
[Date] December 29, 2009
[Source] Ministry of External Affairs, India
[Full text]

Official Spokesperson (Shri Vishnu Prakash): A very good afternoon to you all and welcome to the Joint Press Interaction. First, the Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh will be making an opening statement. Next, the Prime Minister of Japan His Excellency Mr. Yukio Hatoyama would be making a statement.

Sir, may I invite you to make your statement?

Prime Minister:

Your Excellency Prime Minister Hatoyama,

Ladies and Gentlemen of the media.

I am delighted to welcome His Excellency Prime Minister Hatoyama to India. We are particularly honoured that the Prime Minister decided to visit India so soon after his historic victory in the elections in Japan.

Our relations with Japan enjoy a strong national consensus in our country. They are based on shared values and shared interests in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. We welcome Japan's leadership on global issues which will contribute to world peace and prosperity.

In our discussions today, we undertook a comprehensive review of our bilateral cooperation, as well as of major regional and international issues. These discussions have given me renewed confidence about the future of our relations and of the enduring nature of the Strategic and Global Partnership that we established in December 2006.

The economic partnership between India and Japan is the bedrock of our relations. But over the last few years, we have significantly diversified our relations in the areas of defence, security and counter-terrorism. There is closer cooperation on international issues. As agreed upon at the last India-Japan Summit in October 2008, we have finalized an Action Plan to advance our security cooperation.

I conveyed to Prime Minister Hatoyama that India welcomes Japanese investments into India, and that the growth of our economy offers huge opportunities to substantially increase our trade and economic cooperation. In particular, there is great scope for expansion of cooperation in the areas of urban infrastructure, high technology, and renewable and energy efficient technologies.

We have decided to expedite our negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in order to conclude a high quality and balanced agreement. We are hopeful that this can be completed in time for the next Annual Summit meeting.

We agreed on the early implementation of the Dedicated Freight Corridor Project between Mumbai and New Delhi. We have decided to finalise all details for Phase I within the next few months, so that actual implementation can begin in 2010 itself. We also endorsed the plan to take the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project forward. Both these projects will have a significant positive impact on the Indian economy and on the scale of our economic cooperation with Japan.

Prime Minister Hatoyama and I endorsed the importance of enhancing educational, cultural and scientific and technological exchanges. We are grateful to Japan for its assistance and collaboration in the development of the Indian Institute of Technology at Hyderabad, on which there has been concrete progress.

Prime Minister Hatoyama and I also discussed global and regional issues, including the G-20 process, the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, energy security, terrorism, reform of the United Nations Security Council and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. We reviewed developments in the Asia-Pacific region, and agreed that the cause of peace and stability would best be served by creating an open and inclusive architecture in this region. I welcome Prime Minister Hatoyama's initiatives on the Asian Economic Community.

Prime Minister Hatoyama's visit has succeeded in taking our partnership to a new stage. This is reflected in the Joint Statement that we have just signed. I look forward to working with the Prime Minister in years ahead to consolidate the gains of our partnership.

I thank you ladies and gentlemen.

Official Spokesperson: Can I now invite His Excellency the Prime Minister of Japan to make his statement?

Prime Minister of Japan: ...(Inaudible)... I believe that making sure we implement these annual mutual agreements ...(Inaudible)... in advancing our bilateral relations. On security, we issued a Joint Statement last year. We have further deepened that security relationship by coming up with an Action Plan, and I welcome this very much. We shall be realising a Subcommittee level, the 2+2 dialogue. Also with regard to cooperation in the defence of the sea lanes of communication, I believe that stepped up cooperation between our two countries would be very meaningful. I think it is indeed very good that we have been able to agree on these.

Turning to the economic sphere, bilateral Japan-India trade still remains far below the level of Japan-China trade, only 1/20th of Japan-China trade. However last year, Japan's direct investment to India for the first time surpassed Japan's investment to China. In that respect it was a dramatic year. I think it is important that we further speed up or encourage such investment. One of the things that will be conducive to do that would be early realisation of a Bilateral Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on both sides. There still remain concerns that need to be negotiated. But both of us will be instructing our officials to expedite their talks so that we shall be able to conclude the bilateral EPA as soon as possible.

On specifics, there is the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project. Japanese Railway system - the Shinkansen or the bullet train - is extremely safe. Since its inauguration, there has not been any fatal accident. We would like to see this technology utilised in the construction of railways in India. I think this is a project that will be beneficial to both sides. Also there is the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project which we have managed to advance from the planning stage to the implementation stage. With Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), Japan would like to help improve the climate and more investment in infrastructure development because I believe that infrastructure development brings benefits to both sides, enabling Japanese businesses to invest in India.

As part of this we have also discussed specific issues related to visa and asked for cooperation on the Indian side with regard to the procedures for visa issuance. I believe that these major projects will bring benefits not only to our two countries but to the entire world by providing traction to the world economy. We would also like to encourage people-to-people exchanges especially among youth. One project that would be useful in this regard is the cooperation on the establishment of Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad. Through this sort of cooperation, the youth of our two countries can build greater confidence in each other and serve to improve the level of skills. That will contribute to people in Asia and also to people around the world.

We also had discussions on global issues. With regard to East Asian Community, an initiative that I have been advocating, I am grateful to Prime Minister Singh for showing his strong interest. In the East Asian Community initiative, needless to say, India would be an essential element, a country that could play a very important role. By advancing this initiative for East Asian Community, I am convinced that it will ...(Inaudible)...

I also commented on Copenhagen meeting and the initiative on climate change. It is unfortunate that we failed to come up with a legally-binding framework. But I said that with the participation and cooperation of the all countries, we need to make that agreement advance into a legally-binding agreement with specific time limits.

Also we discussed that Japan and India have common interests in advancing nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation around the world. I suggested that we cooperate for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Singh responded by saying that India would do its best for disarmament and non-proliferation as a matter of course.

We also discussed cooperation in the nuclear energy area because I believe this will become a very important agenda in the future. We have also discussed the reform of the UN Security Council. As members of the G4 and also as members of the Asian Community, Japan and India, by stepping up our bilateral cooperation, can contribute to promoting the reform of the Executive Council and contribute to becoming permanent members mutually. By doing that we will be able to contribute for world peace.

I had the fortune of visiting India at a very busy time of the year end and have had this opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the members of the Cabinet of India. I am truly delighted about this opportunity ...(Inaudible)... very fruitful dialogue. I very much hope that this visit of mine will serve but as an important step to further advance the bilateral relations.

Thank you very much.

Official Spokesperson: Thank you, Sir. The leaders will be very happy to take one question each.

Question (Mr. Ajay Kaul, PTI): My question is addressed to both the Prime Ministers. First, to the Japanese Prime Minister. I understand the Japanese business community is keen on having civil nuclear cooperation with India. How do you see the prospects of such cooperation in the near future and what is the progress in relaxing the restricted regime on high-tech trade? In a related question to Prime Minister of India, Sir, there are concerns about restriction or their tightening of visa norms. Your comment on that please.

Prime Minister of Japan: Allow me to respond first. The question was about the outlook for cooperation with India by Japanese business. In recent years, Japanese companies are showing very high-level of interest to cooperate with India. Japanese companies would surely, I believe, expand their trade and investment with India. Not merely for the interest of these companies themselves but this will actually contribute significantly to the society and to the regions where these Japanese companies would establish themselves.

The core in all these endeavours I believe would be the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project. Centring on the DMIC project, many of the Japanese companies should be able to cooperate with India. I believe it proves that both the Japanese and Indian Governments can create the climate that will facilitate their entry and cooperation.

With regard to high-tech trade deregulation, regulations still remain today. This is a matter that Prime Minister Singh pointed to and he expressed his hope that there will be a major move towards liberalisation. Needless to say, since both countries have a high level of high technology, increasing level of mutual cooperation in a high technology area, I believe, will significantly contribute to the development of our two countries and not just that of the entire world. Prime Minister Singh mentioned that Indian companies will not divert the imports from Japan for weapons purposes and they will not divert these imports someday to other third-party countries. With strong determination, I should like to, as soon as possible, see to it that we would be able to act on this matter of regulation while making sure that on individual cases there is nothing wrong by accurately confirming the information provided. So, we would like to make efforts for a positive conclusion.

Prime Minister: With regard to the visa system, both in India and Japan there was a fairly extensive discussion. I requested Prime Minister Hatoyama to ensure that the Japanese visa system becomes more liberal to enable faster growth of trade, investment and people-to-people contacts. I also pointed out that as a special case India has introduced the system of granting visas on arrival in the case of Japanese citizens. But the Prime Minister still maintained that there were some restrictive features of our system, and I promised him that I will have it looked into. The same way I raised the issue of Japanese visa system and requested the Prime Minister to have this looked into as a means of promoting the increased cooperation in trade, investment, and in particular in high technology areas.

Question (Mr. Fujita, NHK, Japan): I would like to ask the two Prime Ministers a question with regard to the abolition of nuclear weapons. I think it was explained that both the Prime Ministers have the same feeling and the same objective. I think the realistic approach is different. But overcoming differences, how can Japan and India cooperate together for the elimination of nuclear weapons? If you could refer to the discussions you had today, I would like to ask the views of both the Prime Ministers.

Prime Minister: We had fairly extensive discussion on cooperation in civil nuclear energy areas. I explained to the Prime Minister the circumstances in which India had to go the nuclear weapon route. But I also mentioned to him that India has unilaterally declared a moratorium on nuclear explosive testing, and that is a commitment we will honour. I have also mentioned that India has an impeccable record with regard to non-proliferation, that the Nuclear Suppliers Group had already given India access to trade in nuclear material and nuclear technologies, and that further India is deeply interested in working together with Japan and other like-minded countries to promote the cause of universal, verifiable, non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.

Prime Minister of Japan: Essentially this is a discussion we had yesterday. I said we share the thoughts because both India and Japan strive for the ultimate goal of total elimination of nuclear weapons. At least we have been able to confirm that point. There is an ...(Inaudible)... response to NPT and we have to recognise that there is a difference. As for CTBT, globally I think there is a rising momentum towards early entry into force of the treaty. I expressed my hope that together with the US and China, India will also sign and ratify CTBT at an earlier time. In response, Prime Minister Singh said that with regard to CTBT, should US and China sign the CTBT that will create a new situation. He stated that as a matter of fact. I believe we probably have to engage in these endeavours. I also referred to the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty and I suggested that negotiations for that treaty should be launched as soon as possible and that Japan and India should cooperate for its early conclusion. That suggestion was welcomed by Prime Minister. So, towards the ultimate goal of total elimination of nuclear weapons I myself would like to continue to seek cooperation firmly and I shall cooperate with India in that respect.

Official Spokesperson: Thank you, Sir. The Joint Press Interaction now draws to a close. Copies of the Joint Statement and the Action Plan are available here which can be collected. Thanks for your presence.