"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


[Place] Okinawa
[Date] May 17, 2003
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

I. Remarks by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi

II. Remarks by Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase

III. Question concerning Prime Minister Koizumi's impression of the Okinawa Initiative

IV. Question concerning annual review of the adopted Action Plan

V. Question concerning Japanese fishery resources

VI. Question concerning Prime Minister Qarase's impression of Okinawa

VII. Question concerning infusion of public funds for Risona Bank

I. Remarks by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi

Announcer: We shall now start the joint press conference at the end of the Japan-Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Summit or the Third PALM Summit (PALM 2003). First, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase will make their remarks.

Prime Minister Koizumi, please.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan: Thanks to the cooperation by all concerned we have been able to conclude a very meaningful Summit Meeting and I shall like to thank the Governor of Okinawa as well as the people of the prefecture of Okinawa for making this possible. I understand in Okinawa they say that once you meet and exchange words on this island, then you become brothers and sisters. True to these words, we have been able to enjoy a very relaxed and continual discussions in this beautiful Okinawa for the past two days.

In the Summit Meeting, we discussed five priority areas. The region's security, trade and investment, development and healthcare, education as well as the environment. All are major elements for the region's development strategy for the purpose of realizing sustainable development. Especially with regard to the environment and education, all leaders were able to share common awareness of the issues and many concrete suggestions were made and we were able to put together the Okinawa Initiative as the result of the Summit this time. It is, I believe, an important achievement that in these five priority areas we were able to agree what specifically to do.

Also, I think it was meaningful that the three major donor countries in the region, Japan, Australia and New Zealand were able to come out with a Joint Statement that they shall coordinate their aid and cooperate with each other for the effective implementation of this Okinawa Initiative.

The success of the Summit this time, I believe owed to the efforts made by Governor Keiichi Inamine and the people of Okinawa Prefecture as well as the people of the city of Nago. Thank you very much.

Yesterday, I also had the opportunity to take a look at the workshop of Okinawa non-governmental organizations (NGOs) together with the leaders of other countries, and I shall like to express my respect for all these NGOs' activities. In the spirit of brothers and sisters, we shall like to continue to expand and deepen our exchanges. Once again, thank you very much.

Announcer: Now, Prime Minister Qarase, please.

II. Remarks by Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase of the Republic of the Fiji Islands: Thank you, Prime Minister Koizumi. I would like to join Prime Minister Koizumi in expressing our very sincere gratitude on behalf of the Pacific Island countries to Governor Inamine and the prefecture of Okinawa for hosting this Summit Meeting which we have found extremely useful and fruitful, and I would like to thank him and his people for the very generous hospitality and kindness extended to us since we arrived here about 24 hours ago.

We have had an excellent Summit Meeting over the last couple of days. As Prime Minister Koizumi said, we covered five major grounds. They are all of vital importance and particular importance to the Pacific region, and I believe they are also areas of concern and interest not only by Japan but also by a number of donor partners in our region.

Yesterday, we were very encouraged when Prime Minister Koizumi expressed the view that he would like this Summit to be action-oriented, to differ in a significant way from the first two summits and that is exactly one of the greatest achievement of this Summit, that we do not only have a joint declaration but that is supported by a Joint Action Plan which sets out in some detail some of the things that we need to focus on and to try and implement as partners in our endeavor to promote economic and social development amongst the Pacific Island countries.

We are also grateful that the three countries, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, have also signed a Joint Statement again committing their countries to assisting the Pacific region, and in particular in the need and the necessity to coordinate their efforts so that any assistance from any of the countries or from the countries combined is more effective in its implementation, in helping our island countries.

My colleagues from the Pacific Island countries believe this is one of the most successful Summit Meetings. The suggestion and adoption of a suggestion by Japan that there be annual reviews of the implementation of the Joint Action Plan, I am sure will go a long way towards achieving the various issues and targets on which we have agreed. So that is another significant difference this time around.

So all in all, we are most grateful to Prime Minister Koizumi for his participation in spite of his very busy schedule throughout this Meeting. We thank the officials of the Government of Japan for the organization of the Meeting which has been a great success. Thank you.

Announcer: Thank you very much. We would like to now entertain questions. Yes, please.

III. Question concerning Prime Minister Koizumi's impression of the Okinawa Initiative

Q: Shirato with Mainichi Shimbun. A question for Prime Minister Koizumi: In your earlier remarks, you referred to the results of the discussions and you stated that they were put together in the form of the Okinawa Initiative. As the prime minister of the host country, how do you see the Okinawa Initiative?

Prime Minister Koizumi: The Pacific Island states are not different but these countries are scattered across the vast ocean, and they may seem to be separated by the ocean but probably rather conversely, they are connected together by the ocean. That was the feeling that I could get this time. For Japan as well, the Pacific Island countries are important neighbors. That is the sense that I have been able to gain.

To achieve sustainable development, we engaged in very candid exchange of views amongst the leaders and by exchanging views, we were able to come up with concrete actions in words in the form of a Joint Action Plan. The Okinawa Initiative that was adopted this time. I believe this provides the foundation for our future action, so by steadily implementing this Initiative, I believe we shall together be able to build a better future and I believe it was indeed a very meaningful meeting.

Announcer: Next please.

IV. Question concerning annual review of the adopted Action Plan

Q: Ruci Mafi, Fiji TV. A question for Mr. Qarase. Mr. Qarase, the Action Plan and the Okinawa Initiative has been adopted to ensure follow-up to planned deliberations and proposals with annual reviews in mind. Will there be a monitory body established to oversee this? If so, will the Forum Secretariat be engaged to set up this body and its terms of reference? Who will fund it? And if not, why not?

Prime Minister Qarase: Thank you. As you pointed out and as I mentioned earlier, there will be an annual review of the implementation of the Joint Action Plan that we have adopted today. I imagine the team that will review can also act as a monitoring agency for that particular role, but that is something for the officials to decide. But I believe that it will go in that direction.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat plays a pivotal role in the coordination and implementation of assistance programs, not only from Japan but also from other donor countries, and I believe that role will continue. It is a role that is vital for the successful implementation of the regional programs.

Quite apart from the Forum Secretariat, there are bilateral programs between Japan and each individual countries. There is a mechanism in each country for the implementation of assistance programs that will flow on a bilateral basis. So I think that the necessary infrastructure, the agencies and institutions for implementing the Joint Action Plan adopted today are well established.

Announcer: Yes, next question please.

V. Question concerning Japanese fishery resources

Q: Peter Niesi from Papua New Guinea Post, Korea. My question is directed to the Japanese Prime Minister. Japan has had its self-sufficiency in fisheries slashed by 50% amidst the suggested depletion by 90% of the world's marine resources. So that makes sustainability very important and a key subject of the Summit. What understanding has been reached to preserve the fishery resources from poachers? What can be done jointly and sustainably to exploit the resource and ensure that there are fairer returns? And what milestones have been identified or set to achieve this in the drive to restore fish talks by 2015 in line with the World Summit's development objectives?

Prime Minister Koizumi: It is true that Japanese love fishery resources the most in the world. Fishery resources, how do we best protect these resources, I believe is a very important question for Japan as well as the PIF countries. This is a matter of great importance, especially bonito and tuna, how to protect the tuna resources, and make use of this as resources for our respective economies. And also enrich the dietary life of the people, I think this indeed is a very important matter. Last year, Japan and PIF countries as well as other fishery countries, in order to eradicate poaching resolved to cooperate with each other. At the Summit this time as well, we confirmed that we need to further strengthen cooperation for the preservation of valuable fishery resources and for sustainable utilization of those resources. I believe that this is important for all our countries, Japan and PIF.

Announcer: I wonder if there are other questions. Yes, please.

VI. Question concerning Prime Minister Qarase's impression of Okinawa

Q: I am Kumagai with the Asahi Shimbun. As a representative of the Okinawa Press, a question for Prime Minister Qarase. First, what are your impressions of Okinawa? Second, having engaged in discussions for two days here, I wonder how you intend to utilize those results for furthering exchanges with Okinawa?

Prime Minister Qarase: Thank you, my impressions of Okinawa are all very good. My colleagues and I from the Pacific Islands countries are very impressed by the development of the island's economy. When we landed yesterday and on the drive from the airport to the city - very highly developed - we were very impressed with the infrastructure that is in place, the roads and so on. They are of course of much higher standard and much better quality than anything that we have in our own individual countries. So these are some of the things that we will take back to our own countries. Very positive things.

Also we are very impressed by the hospitality of the people of Okinawa. In a lot of respects, there are similarities between Okinawa and our own individual countries. Yesterday, we heard some local music, and singing and dancing. In so many ways, they are similar. They tell a story, they tell the history of the country. And also it seems to me that the people of Okinawa enjoy music and singing in a similar way that we enjoy it in the Pacific Island countries.

In terms of the outcomes of the Meeting, translating them into real life actions, that would be the most important thing that faces the leaders of the Pacific Island countries. As explained by Prime Minister Koizumi and myself earlier, we have a document, Action Plan and Declaration that embodies the spirit and the substance of what we discussed yesterday and today. I have already said that there is an infrastructure in place not only on a regional basis but also on a bilateral basis through which these initiatives and these action plans are going to be implemented.

So the Pacific leaders will leave Okinawa with a great deal of optimism and anticipation on the implementation of the Action Plan. I am sure that the same feeling is shared by Japan. So we are looking forward to the next three years before the next Summit in our partnership efforts. It is really a question of partnership between Japan and the Pacific Island countries. Through that partnership, if we work closely together and assist each other, we certainly are looking forward to achieving a great deal out of this Summit.

Announcer: Any other question? Please.

VII. Question concerning infusion of public funds for Risona Bank

Q: Hiroishi with Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK). A question for Prime Minister Koizumi. Sorry to digress from the Okinawa Summit, but with regard to the infusion of public funds for Resona Bank, I wonder what sort of report you received on this, and also the measures with the Government is taking to respond to this issue. Would you convene a meeting of the finance ministers?

Prime Minister Koizumi: Well, with regard to this Resona Bank case, since late last night and early this morning, I have received reports from Minister Heizo Takenaka. I told Minister Takenaka to avoid any undue disruption and confusion in dealing with this matter. Today, I shall fly back to Tokyo and I shall verify how the situation has preceded and I will get a status report. In any case, whatever the circumstances may be, we would like to make sure that we deal with this matter, so that we do not trigger any financial crisis.

Announcer: Thank you very much, representatives of the press. We shall like to conclude the joint press conference at this time.