"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] Towards a Brighter Future: Advancing our Global Partnership, Address by Yoriko Kawaguchi, Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs, At the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry

[Place] Delhi, India
[Date] January 8, 2003
[Source] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

I am greatly honored, and equally delighted, to have the opportunity to address this distinguished gathering of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

I first visited India when I was still a college student. Using the word that just I heard, Jyunen Hitomukashi, meaning 10 years is long time ago, my visit took place really very very long time ago. When I made my plans for my first visit to India, I was feeling quite pleased because I thought that through my trip I was finally going to understand "the real India." But the fact was that I understood India less and less with every place I visited. That might sound surprising to you, but it's rather like this: if you have one clock, you know exactly what time it is. If you have two clocks and if these two clocks might have slightly different times and then you wonder which one is correct. The things get complicated if you have three clocks, or a dozen clocks which are taking different times. So, it was like this. Every place I visited and every person I met, I was not sure what was "the real India, " and it became more and more clear to me what a challenging task it was to understand the "real" India. I felt entirely enriched and yet at the same time somewhat overwhelmed at the enormity of how much there was to know about this country.

It is a pleasure to be back here, especially being able to experience the forward-looking optimism that is so prevalent now, especially with India experiencing such remarkable economic growth even as much of the rest of the world is suffering from stagnation. In India, the bright future is here now. And yet, at the same time, the bright future is yet to come.

< 1. Strategic Partnership >

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The leaders of India and Japan have worked hard to strengthen the partnership between our two countries. In August of 2000, then-Prime Minister of Japan Yoshiro Mori visited India and reached an agreement with Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to establish a "global partnership." Prime Minister Vajpayee visited Japan in December of 2001, and together with our Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, issued the "Japan-India Joint Declaration."

As you are aware, the things which our countries have in common are numerous indeed. We have shared significant values throughout history, and Japan has received a great amount of influence from India more than one thousand years of contact. Beyond these historical and cultural ties, Japan and India are also similar insofar as we represent two of the few countries in Asia to firmly uphold parliamentary democracies and possess highly advanced judicial systems. Furthermore, we each have the strong will to maintain and heighten the trust in these values and systems.

Major changes have taken place in the global strategic environment since the end of the Cold War. Domestically, too, the environment has been changing. India's major economic reforms have brought this country extremely high rates of economic growth over the last decade. Coupled with India's rich supply of people skilled in IT and other technologies, as well as outstanding English language abilities, the future presents tremendous opportunities for continued growth, especially with the wave of globalization sweeping the world. India has been steadily securing a foothold as a major player not only in Asia but also the world as a whole, as Japan did many years before.

To mount more effective responses to the political, security, economic, and global issues now facing us, both countries should realize the immense values in adopting strategic perspectives, not merely as individual players on the world stage, but as partners who complement each other's strengths and compensate for each other's weaknesses. I believe, as Prime Ministers Koizumi and Vajpayee did, that the whole is indeed greater than the sum of the parts. This global partnership can and should become one of the important pillars supporting the future peace and prosperity of Asia and, indeed, the entire world.

< 2. Themes in Strengthening the Partnership >

(Cooperation in Security and Defense)

Within the new strategic environment, India has been working to strengthen its ties with the United States and other major countries with which it had had limited engagement during the Cold War era, and its recent advances in defense cooperation with the United States are of particular note. This Indian initiative will contribute to peace and stability in Asia. Japan is likewise helping to foster stability and prosperity in the Asian and Pacific region through the Japan-U.S. Alliance.

Cooperation between Japan and India is also demonstrating important new progress in this area. Japan has dispatched five Maritime Self-Defense Force ships to the Indian Ocean, with support from India, in the fight against terrorism. The activities of these ships have further underscored to Japan the importance of defense exchanges with India. The Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian Navy have been conducting goodwill visits to each other and the maritime safety authorities in both countries are also advancing a program of regular visits and combined exercises.

These developments are providing a basis for Japan and India to forge even stronger cooperative ties. Cooperative maintenance of the security of maritime traffic in the sea-lanes that stretch across the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Malacca are among the security and defense issues which deserve our increased attention. Both countries share common interests and concerns regarding these issues.

Achieving ever closer cooperation on the security and defense front is crucial for both Japan and India. Last evening, I met with the Honorable Minister for External Affairs Yashwant Sinha. We confirmed our plans to hold the next round of Japan-India Foreign Secretary Level Talks in February, with a focus on strategic issues. We need to channel greater energy into discussions in which both foreign affairs and defense authorities take part. Finally, we hope to actively promote exchanges between Indian and Japanese research institutions and promote the exchange of experts.

(Issues of Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation)

I would be remiss if I did not touch on the issues of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, as they are key issues when talking about cooperation in the security and defense fields.

The topics of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation touch very deeply on the Japanese consciousness because of Japan's experience 58 years ago of being the only nation upon which atomic weapons have ever been dropped. The tragedy that the Japanese people experienced is beyond words. Having lost 200 thousand people within the first five years as a direct result of the bombing, and 130 thousand people in the years following as a result of radiation exposure, Japan continuously appeals to the international community for the elimination of nuclear armaments of all kinds. Japan also urges every nation including India to join the NPT regime, which is the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

As confirmed in the Japan-India Joint Declaration, both countries must make constructive efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. Japan will continue to promote practical and concrete measures in order to realize a peaceful and safe world free of nuclear weapons. We have strengthened our diplomatic efforts regarding various disarmament and non-proliferation measures, and we attach special importance to the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans all kinds of nuclear testing. Insofar as both Japan and India recognize the need for as bright a future as possible for the people of our countries, the region, and the world, I look forward eagerly to India's early signature to the CTBT, in order that our two nations can work cooperatively for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

(Cooperation regarding the Economy)

With regard to the economy, both Japan and India have been taking advantage of the excellent economic opportunities which have come about as a result of India's assertive economic liberalization measures of the 1990's. In manufacturing, investment by Japanese firms, such as Suzuki and Honda, has been particularly successful, and Hero-Honda is now, to my knowledge, the top motorcycle manufacturing company in the world. My understanding is also that Maruti- Suzuki vehicles are now almost a symbol of the upper middle class.

Nevertheless, the full potential of the Japan-India economic partnership has yet to emerge. Japan has much to offer India in the area of investment as well as high technology and managerial skills. And in return the highly-skilled Indian labor force and the increasingly positive environment which the Indian government is creating through its economic reform policy make for conditions which can attract more and more private investment and lead to the further development of the Indian economy. I hope that India will continue to reduce its remaining obstacles to trade and investment.

India's skills in Information Technology and other advanced technologies are known throughout the world. In Japan, many products, from machinery to home appliances to automobiles use integrated circuit chips, and it is no exaggeration to say that almost everyone in Japan has been using various kinds of microchips, computer software, and so on that were originally made by Indian engineers, whether they are knowing it or not. I look forward to more and more Indian engineers bringing their skills to Japan.

Just last month, distinguished business leaders from Japan and India met in Bangalore, the "IT capital" of India, for an intensive exchange of ideas and opinions, representing an excellent example of a useful private sector-driven initiative. The Japanese government continues to support efforts to advance economic exchange, and later this month, the Vice-Minister for International Affairs from Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will visit India to participate in a dialogue on the theme of Japan-India public- and private-sector investment.

Bilateral cooperation to promote greater economic partnership in Asia is also a critical strategic theme, and I welcome last November's first India-ASEAN summit in Cambodia. At this gathering, Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong likened the importance of India to ASEAN as the wings of a jumbo jet, stating:

"One wing of the jumbo jet was made of Japan, South Korea and China. But a jumbo can not fly without another wing. The other wing is being constructed today. Now the ASEAN jumbo will be able to fly well and in all weathers."

Japan's efforts to forge economic partnerships with ASEAN countries and South Korea are ongoing. Depending on what steps toward economic collaboration are forthcoming between India and ASEAN, it may prove possible to create an expansive, pan-Asian economic area, extending from East to South Asia. Whether this becomes reality someday or not, it is clear that India will play a pivotal role in this vision.

(India-Pakistan Relations)

Let me now touch on an issue closely related to economic relations between Japan and India. I have already mentioned that India has made great strides in promoting an increasingly favorable atmosphere for Japanese investment. However, the mounting tension between India and Pakistan last May and June has led some major countries including Japan to ask their nationals to leave India. This move has resulted in considerable impact on the Indian economy and on the foreign firms operating here. Improvement in India-Pakistan relations is vital for Japanese companies here to be able to conduct stable economic activities. Such improvement will make the Indian market more attractive for investors and contribute directly to the economic development of India itself. I welcome India's courageous decision to redeploy its forces away from the border with Pakistan. I hope strongly that even more positive steps will be taken to lead to the early resumption of a dialogue between India and Pakistan. Japan continues to urge Pakistan to put a permanent end to infiltration across the Line of Control.

(Global Issues)

I have already mentioned that Japan and India are united as partners not only in bilateral contexts but also regarding various global issues. It would be naive to suggest that there are no differences in our views, but our two nations have literally thousands of years of collective wisdom to help us as we continue to find our common ground and work towards our common goals.

Now I would like to raise three subjects, Human Security, the Fight against Terrorism, and Global Warming, as subjects which merit increased cooperation.

[Human Security]

Japan attaches special importance to the concept of Human Security. People have to be protected from various threats such as poverty, environmental degradation, conflict, landmines, refugee problems, illicit drugs, infectious diseases, and the ravages of sudden economic crises in order to enable them to lead their lives with dignity. Japan has taken up Human Security as one of the pillars of its foreign policy and established a Trust Fund for Human Security in the United Nations.

On the Commission on Human Security, comprised of internationally prominent eminent persons, it is two Asian intellectuals serving as co-chairs, Mrs. Sadako Ogata, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees who recently received the Indira Gandhi award, and Professor Amartya Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Economics. I am very proud that it is Asian intellectuals who are contributing so significantly and prominently to the realization of Human Security. The commission will be adopting a report February and I believe that India shares Japan's desire to help bring about the realization of Human Security at any and every opportunity.

[Fight against Terrorism]

International terrorism is a matter of grave concern for us. I share the indignation and grief of the people of India over the cruel terrorist attacks on the Parliament Building in 2001 as well as in Kashmir and other areas. Japan strongly condemns terrorism in any form for any reason. We in Japan were pleased to see the large number of voters demonstrating both their courage and their faith in the democratic process by coming to cast their votes in the local assembly election in Kashmir last year despite a number of terrorist disturbances.

I hope that every nation shows determination and courage to fight terrorism in all its forms. Japan continues to call on all states to conclude counter-terrorism conventions as well as to implement faithfully all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. Japan also appreciates highly the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism proposed by India and we support an early adoption of this draft convention.

[Global Warming]

Many of you know that I have also served as Japan's Environment Minister, and that the issue of global warming is one close to my heart. I have been following this issue intently since the Earth Summit in 1992 and as Environment Minister I worked on the international negotiations which made the Kyoto Protocol ratifiable for many countries. Japan and India both ratified the Kyoto Protocol during the past year and I would again like to extend my most sincere congratulations to India on its ratification.

As you are all well aware, India hosted the Eighth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as COP8, just two months ago here in Delhi. I would like to express my sincere hope that India continues to demonstrate such leadership in the field of the environment.

In the area of climate change, time, of course, is of the essence. While adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change is important, equally important is the introduction of concrete measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in all regions including the developing countries based on a common rule. Delay in action will affect the developing countries which are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Japan will continue to make efforts to bring about the early entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol as well as to achieve its own commitments under this Protocol.

I hope that India takes initiative in developing solutions to various emerging issues in the field of the environment, such as South-South technology transfers, an area still developing and one in which I believe India could play an important role as both an innovator and a leader.

< 3. Securing Peace - Japan's New Contributions to Peace in Sri Lanka >

Ladies and gentlemen,

There is one other core field in which Japan and India can and must make lasting contributions, and that is in the area of peace- and nation-building in conflict-affected regions. India of course has a long history of making significant contributions, having dispatched large numbers of personnel to support United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in Ethiopia-Eritrea, Lebanon, Kosovo, and elsewhere. Japan has made contributions to ease the conflicts in Cambodia, East Timor, and more recently, Afghanistan.

To increase Japan's contributions in this field, I have been advocating "the consolidation of peace" initiative. The key feature of this new pillar of Japanese foreign policy is that Japan start to provide support to benefit the local communities even before a formal peace agreement is concluded. This not only gets assistance to the local people at a crucial time of need, but also gives crucial momentum to the peace process by helping the local populace to enjoy the dividends of peace. This approach is more proactive than our conventional approach, which has been focused on rehabilitation and reconstruction after peace accords have been signed. Currently, there is significant movement toward peace in Sri Lanka, Aceh, Mindanao and other parts of the world, and Japan is determined to advance programs of support and contribute to peace in such regions.

Japan has received requests for assistance from the government of Sri Lanka. In response, we have appointed Mr. Yasushi Akashi, former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, as the Japanese government representative. In addition, a conference on the reconstruction of Sri Lanka will be held in Tokyo this coming June. The goal is to discuss medium- and long-term nation building not only for the strife-torn north and east, but also for all of Sri Lanka. I hope that the international community will voice its unified resolve to accelerate the peace process at the upcoming Tokyo Conference. Japan will also be hosting a session of peace talks this March.

India is a vital presence in the quest to bring peace to Sri Lanka. As we strive to help the Sri Lankans, Japan will continue to work closely with India through its strategic partnership.

< 4. Development Assistance >

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before I close, I would like to address the issue of Japan's Official Development Assistance policy, as it has a very important role to play in supporting India's economic development and in further strengthening the bonds of trust and cooperation on which we have built our strategic partnership.

Economic measures were introduced by Japan in response to India's nuclear testing of 1998, but in October of 2001, Japan announced the discontinuation of these measures. In spite of severe economic and fiscal conditions, Japan has decided to pledge fresh concessional loans to India amounting to about 900 million US dollars. Last evening I conveyed this decision to the Honorable Minister for External Affairs Yashwant Sinha. In accordance with the principles of Japan's ODA Charter, we continue to extend economic cooperation to India in areas such as health and medical services, agriculture and rural development, environmental conservation, and economic infrastructure development.

Cooperation between Japan and India in ODA has produced a multitude of positive outcomes. As but one example, Japan has so far provided more than 400 million US dollars for the development of the Delhi Metro, and I understand that a section was opened last month. In fact, I was on it yesterday. I am pleased to report that the Honorable Prime Minister Vajpayee spoke highly of this project, remarking at the inauguration ceremony what an outstanding example of cooperation between Japan and India the project represents. I hope the Delhi Metro will make Delhi's traffic smoother, we knew it, importance of it this evening, its sky clearer, and its residents' lives better. I sincerely hope that the Delhi Metro will be loved by the people of India as a new symbol of our cooperation. Among Japan's additional concessional loans are loans which further advance this project.

During Prime Minister Vajpayee's visit to Tokyo at the end of 2001, Prime Minister Koizumi told him of Japan's desire to contribute to the abatement of pollution in the sacred Ganga river. Japan is planning to send a mission in March to conduct water quality studies in conjunction with the relevant ministries and agencies of India. The power, the beauty, and the importance of this sacred river cannot be emphasized enough and Japan is delighted that it can be of assistance in helping India take assertive steps to preserve it. They say that life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. I believe that seeing the Ganga river clean again will be one of those long-awaited, truly breath-taking moments for all of us who care deeply about this extremely important part of India's spiritual, cultural, and historical legacy.

< 5. Concluding Remarks >

Ladies and gentlemen,

As I undertake my work to strengthen the Japan-India global partnership, I am struck by the enormity of the potential that India may find in the years ahead. While our global partnership builds on that potential, our current projects are surely only a small part of what is still to come. Many of you gathered here today will be playing vital roles in changes that directly enhance the brightness of India's future. I encourage you to watch our global partnership as it develops over the coming years. This partnership between India and Japan will without question be an important one for the region and also for the world.

Thank you for your kind attention