"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] Speech by Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs at the "NERICA" Side Event

[Place] Japan Pavilion, Johannesburg
[Date] August 31, 2002
[Source] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

1. Introduction

I am honored to speak as the representative of the Government of Japan at today's side event on New Rice for Africa or NERICA.

First of all, I would like to express my deepest respect to Mr. Zephirin Diabre, Associate Administrator of UNDP, co-organizer of this event; and to Mr. Ian Johnson, Chairman of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and a vice-president of the World Bank; I am also grateful for Dr. Monty Jones, who is a "founding father'' of NERICA, to be with us today.

2. Japan's Contribution

The Government of Japan considers no stability and prosperity in the world in the twenty-first century without solution of the African problem, it believes that the solution of the African problems is an important challenge for the international community as a whole.

Japan has actively provided cooperation to Africa by stressing the importance of Africa's ownership, and the necessity of partnership with the international community to support Africa. Japan plays pioneer role to address the issue of African development, by hosting the first Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD I) back in 1993.

The Government of Japan recognize the importance to improve food situation in Africa. Thus, some $30 million grant aid will be extended to tackle the food crisis in the Southen African region.

Prior to my visit here, I spoke about Japan's initiation for Africa during my stay in Ethiopia. I hope that my visit to Africa will help give further impetus to cooperation between Africa and Japan.

3. Continued support for the Dissemination of NERICA

Japan thinks that, through the utilization of Asia's development experience for its cooperation with Africa, it is a unique role of Japan to play that it will promote growth in African countries, reduce starvation and poverty, and contribute to food security throughout the world. Further exploration of the possibilities of the dissemination of NERICA, which combines the merits of African and Asian rice species will be a good example.

Regarding the potential of NERICA, I expect the panelists and experts will give their explanations at this event later. Japan hopes that NERICA will contribute, as a measure, to improving the food shortage in Africa. We intend to actively participate in the study of effective methods of dissemination; in addition, Japan will strengthen our support, through the provision of both financial and human resources, to the West African Rice Development Association or WARDA, major contribution to the research and development of NERICA.

4. Conclusion

Although Japan' ODA faces a difficult situation, it will continue to contribute to the solution of the issues in Africa. In addition, I have defined the year leading up to TICAD III, scheduled to be held in the latter half of year 2003, as a "leap year" for cooperation with Africa, and I intend to intensify efforts for further cooperation with Africa including its support for NERICA. At this event here today, a number of participants involved in NERICA are kindly with us. The collaboration with these people, I am convinced, will make the food situation in Africa be improved.

The Ministerial Meeting of the Initiative for Development in East Asia or IDEA, held in Tokyo in August, is an initiative to share Asia's development experience with other regions. Tomorrow, at 11:00 in the morning here in the Japan Pavilion, a side-event will take place on the East Asian development approach, including my presentation of the outcomes of the Ministerial Meeting. Like today's event, I hope that as many people as possible attend.

Thank you for your attention.