"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] Statement by Mr. Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, at the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the WTO

[Place] Hong Kong, China
[Date] December 14, 2005
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Mr. Chairman, I would like to join other speakers to thank Chief Executive Tsang and the people of Hong Kong for hosting this important conference.

Mr. Chairman, as someone from a country that went through excruciating pain under GATT Article 35, I know how it feels to be excluded from the world trading system. Japan has always committed herself to making the WTO rules friendly, first and foremost to the small nations, as well as the vulnerable.

Today, I am here to present to you Japan's concrete measures to fully integrate all WTO members into the multilateral trading system.

The first step toward that goal is to enhance participation in the system by the developing countries, and especially the LDCs.

For them to successfully participate in trade, their production capacity should grow. Their products must proceed with greater ease to their ports to be shipped abroad. And they must find consumers in overseas markets.

The Japanese package aims to leave not a single one of these three crucial links missed, so that farmers and factory workers both benefit from the chain of commerce.

First, we will contribute 10 billion US dollars for infrastructure buildings.

Second, we will conduct exchanges of experts and trainees, amounting to ten thousand people.

And third, we will introduce duty-free and quota-free market access for essentially all LDC products.

Sixty years ago, people in Japan all started from scratch to reconstruct their nation, with no natural resources but debris of wartime destructions. Yet they knew tomorrow would be brighter, and with HOPE in mind, achieved a virtuous circle between "ownership" and "partnership". They knew that they were the owners of their nation's destiny. And they knew also that partnerships with other countries would be crucial.

Money is not panacea, let alone mere words. HOPE and self-esteem count far more, as at the end of the day, they must be the owners of themselves. Only then they can advance to be a full partner within the WTO family.

This virtuous circle holds key for development, and that is exactly what many of us in Japan want to share with developing countries.

Over the last decade, 20 per cent or more of the entire world ODA was made by Japan alone. I take small pride, however, not so much in that sizable accomplishment, as in the objective we have unflaggingly pursued. And that objective, Mr. Chairman, is to let the peoples of developing countries have HOPE, and establish the virtuous circle between ownership and partnership. Exactly to this end, the Japanese package will serve.

Thank you very much indeed for your kind attention.