"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 Shinzo Abe on the Occasion of His Trip to the Middle East

[Date] May 1, 2018
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

Opening Statement by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

(On this visit to the Middle East)

As I begin my remarks, I wish to express my appreciation to His Majesty King Abdullah and the people of Jordan for their heartwarming welcome. I would also like to extend my heartfelt sympathy to all those who were affected by the recent flooding.

Due to the Syrian Crises, refugees are now flocking to various places. Against that background, Jordan has generously accepted a tremendous number of Syrian refugees and has been making enormous contributions. I express my great respect for this.

Jordan has played a central role in fostering regional stability. For Japan, Jordan is a great partner in the Middle East. Japan will support the many efforts that His Majesty King Abdullah has been making over the years.

Japan has over half a century built up friendly relations with all the nations in the Middle East through ways that are quintessentially Japanese in character, including through economic development assistance, education, medical services, and humanitarian assistance. And, more than anything else, Japan relies on this region for the majority of its energy. The Japanese people depend on the Middle East as they conduct their daily lives.

During this visit, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), we succeeded in renewing concessions on Abu Dhabi's offshore oil fields. Japan will continue to be the UAE's greatest partner. I wish to express my deepest appreciation to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. We also signed an investment agreement and as such this visit turned out to be another important opportunity for enhancing further our already broad relationship.

I was accompanied on this visit by top executives and management of manufacturers, trading companies, financial institutions, exporters of agricultural products, small- and medium-sized companies, and universities. Our public and private sectors stand side-by-side in demonstrating Japan's will towards cooperation with the Middle East. We look forward to investments in the Middle East region becoming increasingly active in the future across a wide range of fields extending far beyond energy.

In Palestine, young seedlings of peace are about to bear fruit. For instance, the Agro-Industrial Park has been making progress. Japan proposed this park a decade ago and pressed forward with it through cooperation with Jordan, while working hand-in-hand with Israel and Palestine.

One of the enterprises in the park, which produces soap from olives, has been launched through the hard work of the Palestinians and is now exporting their goods to Europe. The juices and mineral water made here now line store shelves. This initiative has created 200 jobs. I will be visiting this Agro-Industrial Park tomorrow.

I am firmly convinced that when economic self-reliance causes people to experience affluence in their daily lives, it will lead to lasting peace. Japan will continue to provide assistance, remaining unsparing in the cooperation we provide. I will convey this message to President Abbas of Palestine and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel.

It is economic prosperity that forms the foundations for peace. As a long-time friend of the Middle East, Japan will contribute to peace and stability in the Middle East in a way that only Japan does.

(North Korea and the Japan-China-Republic of Korea Trilateral Summit Meeting)

Stability and prosperity in the Middle East are the root of world peace and prosperity. The world is also calling for peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

I commend the efforts by President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK) at the recent Inter-Korean Summit. We must press forward this momemtum and lead it to concrete actions by North Korea, aiming at the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. .

Towards this end, with the strong solidarity of Japan and the U.S. as well as Japan, the U.S. and the ROK, and further strengthening its cooperation with China, Russia and other members of the international community, Japan will engage in all-out efforts to make this a reality.

Moreover, Japan seeks to normalize its relations with North Korea through comprehensive resolution of outstanding issues of concern, such as the abductions, nuclear, and missile issues, as well as through settlement of the unfortunate past with North Korea, in accordance with the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration. Japan will engage in efforts in accordance with this consistent principle.

On May 9, I will welcome President Moon Jae-in of the ROK and Premier Li Keqiang of China to Japan and host the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting. We will engage in exhaustive discussions from every possible angle in order to promote the future development of Japan-China and Japan-ROK relations.

With President Moon Jae-in, I intend to confirm our cooperation as we head towards the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting.

In addition, on this occasion, Premier Li Keqiang will pay an Official Visit to Japan from May 8 to May 11, the first such visit by a Chinese premier in approximately eight years. This year, which marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People's Republic of China, we will further deepen Japan-China relations, which will make a "new start," taking the opportunity of Premier Li's visit to Japan.

I will end my opening statement here.