"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] Press Conference by Prime Minister Abe Following the G20 Summit, the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, and the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings

[Date] November 22, 2015
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional Translation
[Full text]

Opening Statement by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Over a little more than a week, at the G20 summit, the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, and the East Asia Summit, the heads of leading nations around the world have gathered together, holding earnest discussions regarding a variety of issues facing the international community, and also towards fostering the sustainable growth of the global economy.

These days, in light of concerns regarding the slowdown of the global economy, the foremost topic is economic growth. I made my appeal to the other leaders focused on the second stage of Abenomics, particularly the two points of dynamic engagement of all citizens and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or "TPP," Agreement.

Amidst increasing uncertainty over the global economy, all countries, including emerging economies, have now run into the same "wall" of how to ensure sustainable economic growth.

Now is the time when we must create a society brimming with opportunities for all, whether young or old, male or female, whether with disabilities or intractable illnesses, and moreover, people who have met with failure in the past. Micro-, small and medium enterprises possessing novel ideas, particular skills and techniques are also engines for growth. In addition, we need ideas for making greater use of those strengths on the global stage.

If all people are able to demonstrate their experience and abilities as much as they like and participate actively, we will be able to shatter that "wall" that has hindered growth, and it must be possible to boost economic vitality reliably. That became the major theme of this year's G20 and APEC meetings.

For that reason, our new approach of "the dynamic engagement of all citizens" received attention from a large number of countries. I believe that I have once again confirmed that this is the "ultimate growth strategy" indicating the course towards sustainable growth. I renewed my determination also to tackle any and all difficult issues going forward, in order to bring about at an early time a society in which all citizens are dynamically engaged.

At the various meetings I attended this past week, a great deal of interest was also directed at, among other areas, Japan's high rates of energy conservation and energy efficiency, our universal health insurance system, and our wisdom regarding disaster prevention. In realizing sustable growth, it is also necessary to build infrastructure highly resilient to earthquakes, typhoons, and other natural disasters and create a society with superior energy conservation that does not impose a heavy burden on the environment. We must secure this kind of "quality" in our growth.

Fair rules under which high-quality things are evaluated as such will become shared in common across a wide range of fields, from services to intellectual property. The TPP Agreement is an effort to create new economic rules for the 21st century. At the APEC meeting and other fora, the economies such as Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, the Republic of Korea, and Indonesia expressed their strong interest in future participation in the TPP, about which agreement in principle was reached just recently. The TPP is truly a grand plan for the long-term future of our nation.

At the summit meeting among TPP negotiating countries, we agreed that each of our countries would play a leadership role to bring about the signing and entry into force of the Agreement at an early date. For our part, Japan too will place emphasis on efforts to expand the TPP going forward, while working to obtain the approval of the Diet at as early a time as possible after the Agreement is signed. We will moreover directly link the effects of the TPP to reviving the economy and vitalizing local regions. We will stay mindful of the feelings of worry and unease among the public as we compile effective policy guidelines and carry them into execution with a view to dispelling those worries.

In addition, over the past week, I held summit meetings with the leaders of a number of countries, utilizing this valuable opportunity in which the leaders of the world's major countries have come together.

I held my first summit talks with Prime Minister Turnbull of Australia and Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada. During these talks we exchanged views across a wide spectrum of fields, ranging from the economy to security.

I concurred with President Putin of Russia, whom I met with for the twelfth time, that we will aim at the conclusion of a peace treaty and seek out all possible opportunities to continue our dialogues. I was able to meet with Prime Minister Cameron of the UK and Chancellor Merkel of Germany again in our first talks since the [G7] Schloss Elmau Summit in June.

I also held frank talks with Prime Minister Modi of India, President Erdogan of Turkey, and King Salman of Saudi Arabia, as well as with my friends in ASEAN countries.

President Obama of the United States and I agreed that, on the basis of the robust Japan-U.S. alliance, our two countries will further reinforce our efforts to foster the peace and prosperity of the region and the world as we advance our cooperation with countries with which we share fundamental values. And, we once again sent out to the world the message of the importance of the rule of law, a value our countries both share.

International law must be observed. Freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight everywhere around the world must be safeguarded. All disputes must be settled by peaceful and diplomatic means in accordance with international law, not through the exercise of, or threats using, force or coercion.

At the East Asia Summit, this exact point was a major theme, with a focus on the situation in the South China Sea. This resulted in what I consider a strong consensus that each country must act responsibly in accordance with international law and strictly refrain from actions that give rise to tense relations in order to safeguard the peace and security of the seas and ensure freedom of navigation. I believe that we will be able to foster mutual trust as relevant countries build up dialogues with each other over time, grounded in shared rules.

Various issues invariably exist between one country and another. At times, their views may conflict with each other.

However, the stance that terrorism cannot be tolerated under any circumstances is an area where we have no differences of opinion whatsoever. Terrorist attacks occurred in Paris during my visit to Turkey, where the G20 summit was held. And it was just a few days before that a Russian passenger airplane was blown up through terrorism. This year, Japanese nationals have also been among the victims. Nationals of other countries including China have also become victims of terrorism. Vicious terrorism that cruelly deprives a large number of ordinary people of their lives is a clear assault on humanity's universally-held values of wishing for peace and prosperity.

Japan, the U.S., Russia, China, the countries of the Middle East—indeed, the entire international community—will resolutely join hands in the fight against terrorism. At the G20 summit, and again too at the APEC meeting and the East Asia Summit, the international community succeeded in uniting to send out that clear message. We were able to display strongly the solidarity of the international community in confronting terrorism. That is how I view the outcomes of these international meetings.

"Let us meet again next week in Paris."

That is the pledge I exchanged with many national leaders. Climate change is also a challenge faced by all humanity. At COP21, I would like us to aim at compiling well-designed countermeasures for the entire international community to undertake.

In closing, I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation towards the people of Malaysia who have extended such a warm welcome to me.

(Q&A will be posted in due course)