"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] Policy Speech by Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa during His Visit to the Republic of Korea, "Japan-ROK Relations in the Asian and Global Context"

[Place] Seoul
[Date] January 17, 1992
[Source] DIPLOMATIC BLUEBOOK 1992, Japan's Diplomatic Activities, pp. 390-398
[Full text]

The Honorable Park Jyun Kyu,

Respected Speaker of National Assembly

and Distinguished Members of Parliament of the Republic of Korea,

It gives me great pleasure to have this opportunity today to speak to you who represent the Republic of Korea, and through you, to the people of the Republic of Korea. My sincere gratitude goes to the Honorable Speaker of National Assembly and the leaders and Members of National Assembly of all the parties for giving me this opportunity in spite of the current recess.

In the turbulent world of today, tides of major change are washing the shores of the Korean Peninsula as well. Your country realized the aspiration of 40-odd years last autumn - the accession to the United Nations. Furthermore, the meeting between the prime ministers of the South and the North produced a major progress in the relations between the South and the North with the signing of an epoch-making agreement. These are, indeed, felicitous events for which we could not be happier as your neighbor.

Long impressed by the vigorous growth of your country I had eagerly hoped to come here to have candid exchange of views with His Excellency President Roh Tae Woo and other important figures. I feel truly excited at being able to make my first overseas trip as Prime Minister to your country, a country that finds itself in the middle of a historic moment and bring to you my words of felicitation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The end of the Cold War was heartening news indeed for people around the world who aspire for peace. We humankind have, in fact, made a big stride into a new world. Yet, the post-Cold War world has been in an extreme state of flux from the Gulf Crisis to the turmoil in the former Soviet Union and the civil war in Yugoslavia, only to prove that the building of a new order of peace is no easy task.

It behooves all countries on earth actively to join their forces together to build a new world order if we are to tide over these times. Today they must all rally around the United Nations, each contributing in accordance with its capability and circumstances to ensuring world peace and stability. Now is the time for the United Nations to strive bard for the attainment of the ideals it held when it was founded.

In this respect, I feel most encouraged that your country has formally joined the fold at the United Nations. With this new development, it will be important for Japan and the Republic of Korea, both expected to play the role of the engine for Asian and global dynamism, to consult and collaborate with each other at the United Nations as well. The cooperative relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea will most likely hold a new significance for the international community.

In making its contribution to world peace and stability, Japan will firmly uphold its basic policy never again to become a military power that may threaten others by taking to heart the lessons of the past and by strictly adhering to a purely defensive posture under the peace Constitution. Under this guiding principle, we shall step up our economic as well as political and personnel contribution for the maintenance of world peace and security. Especially in relation to the U.N. Peace-keeping Operations which are contributing very significantly to this end, we are now in the process of preparing the domestic arrangements which will enable Japan to provide further personnel cooperation including Japanese participation in U.N. Peace-keeping Forces. We are determined to respond, thus to the expectations of the world community.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Paris Conference held last October produced an agreement on a comprehensive political settlement of the Cambodian problem. As a member of the Asian community and as a country that had worked hard to organize the Tokyo Conference on Cambodia, we are truly gratified by the arrival of peace in that country. Having put a period to the long and tortuous warfare with the agreement, Cambodia will now tackle the task of national reconstruction. This means that the entire Indochina, the most unstable area thus far in Southeast Asia, will participate in the dynamic economic development of the Asia-Pacific. This development casts bright hopes for something we are all deeply concerned for - the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.

The region's remarkable growth in recent years has greatly attracted the world's attention to the Asia-Pacific. Some claim that this region will lead the world into the 21st century. I believe that the dynamism of this region derives from its rich diversity - ethnic, religious, cultural - as well as from multifarious traditions, values and modes of economic development that exist therein. In the past, it was argued that the diversity and the concomitant complexity of the region shackled its development. However, amid today's sea change, the diverse elements of the region are complementing and at the same time stimulating each other, thus generating robust energy.

As we try to promote the development of this region we, therefore, must intensify regional cooperation and dialogue in a manner that is open and suitable to this region while respecting its diversity. In this connection, we feel most encouraged by your country's participation since last year in the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference - a forum for regional cooperation and dialogue. It was most significant that the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC process was launched at its first ministerial meeting in 1989. I regard especially highly the participation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong and the adoption of a declaration that spelled out the APEC philosophy and guiding principles at the third APEC ministerial meeting held here in Seoul last autumn. There is no doubt that cooperation between my country and yours in APEC will grow ever more important.

I should also like to take note of the significant growth potential of Northeast Asia which encompasses the Korean Peninsula, China, Russia and Japan. This region as a whole is endowed with ample labor and natural resources, complemented by the economic and technological capabilities of our two countries. In a region where interchange and cooperation were hindered to a large measure by political barriers, the end of the Cold War has opened the way toward an improved climate, where synergy can be achieved out of the strengths and weaknesses of the economies. It is within the realm of possibilities for Japan and the Republic of Korea to play a central role, in cooperation with the United States and other countries concerned, in transforming this region from that of tension to that of cooperation and create a prosperous and open Northeast Asia. In fact, it is a dream well within our reach if we work for it. It is no exaggeration to say that whether this dream will come true or not hinges on the future cooperation between our two countries.

The Japanese people are earnestly praying for the day when a peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula will be achieved. This is because a peaceful and stable Korean Peninsula is the cornerstone for a peaceful and stable East Asia. And as a neighbor with many friends in this country we empathize with your national aspiration in a tireless pursuit of your peaceful reunification. We also understand your pain. My heart aches every time I hear stories of families torn asunder and doomed to live scattered on the peninsula. There are some Japanese who moved to North Korea with their spouses, and although their parents and relatives are looking forward to a reunion, it has remained elusive. The letters sent to us from these people, many of them advancing in age, are filled with their earnest plea that they be allowed to have a glimpse of their daughters or sisters who have moved to North Korea.

The tragedy of the divided Korea must be laid to rest as soon as possible. It goes without saying that the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula must be realized through the dialogue between the South and the North.

What especially caught my attention in the agreement signed at the meeting of the prime ministers of the South and the North last year was the reference made to South-North interchange and cooperation at the insistence of your country. As in Aesop's Fables, it is not the cold wind but the warm sun that makes the man take off the cape. I was struck by the warmth of your heart in extending the love for compatriots to people who have lived almost half a century under a different political, economic and social regime. I also found myself very much in agreement with your thinking that it is better to accept North Korea into the outside world rather than to force it into isolation if we are to encourage its reform and change, especially to help it open itself which would be conducive to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula. I believe that your support for North Korea's membership in the United Nations stemmed from the same thinking. I strongly hope that North Korea will appreciate the true intent of yours and act as a responsible member of the international community.

Japan has so far had five rounds of normalization talks with North Korea. One important consideration of ours in pursuing this negotiation is to rectify the abnormal relations between Japan and North Korea. But it is not simply that. Another important consideration is that the normalization of relations between Japan and North Korea should contribute to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula. This is in line with your thinking that it is better to accept North Korea into the world community as a responsible member. I wish to stress on this occasion that, in the spirit I have just described, my government has, in the talks to date, called constantly for the promotion of the dialogue between the South and the North which is of particular importance for realizing a peaceful and stable Korean Peninsula.

I should add, though, that while there now is better understanding on each other's position as a result of fairly intensive discussions, the gulf of difference in the basic positions of Japan and North Korea has not narrowed much. Of particular gravity to the security of this region, I believe, is the issue of North Korean nuclear development, and it is imperative that this issue be resolved by the time relations between Japan and North Korea are normalized. The people of Japan, the only country that was exposed to nuclear attacks, earnestly pray that nuclear weapons will never be developed in the Korean Peninsula. It is for this reason that Japan has been calling on North Korea not to own a nuclear spent fuel reprocessing facility in addition to urging their acceptance of inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Japan highly appreciates the series of measures that your country has adopted in an effort to resolve this problem: the non-nuclear declaration, the proposal for simultaneous inspection of the South and the North and the declaration of non-existence of nuclear weapons among others. Japan also warmly welcomes the provisional signing late last year of the draft Joint Declaration on Denuclearization between the South and the North as a major step toward the resolution of this issue. We hope that this declaration will be implemented at an early date, and will continue to urge strongly that North Korea, in keeping with its own announcement, sign and faithfully implement the IAEA safeguards agreement as soon as possible, to dispel the international concern over North Korean nuclear development.

Hoping that in the near future a peaceful reunification that assures happiness for everyone in the Korean Peninsula will become a reality, Japan will continue to pursue negotiations with North Korea tenaciously, at the same time continuing to keep in close touch with you.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Japanese people are aware that your country has been striving for peace, freedom and prosperity of the world. The 1988 Olympic games in Seoul, the cooperation you extended to the multinational forces during the Gulf Crisis and your recent hosting of the APEC ministerial meeting were but only a few examples of such effort. The Japanese people highly appreciate such effort of yours and heartily congratulate you on your successes.

The Republic of Korea is, today, a major country in the world, and global expectations for your international role will only grow. As we set sail for a difficult voyage to a new world, I am truly heartened that my country is fortunate to find a neighbor in you with much history and culture to share. This unshakable relationship between your country and mine will benefit not only ourselves, but Asia and the world as a whole. I should like to define this partnership as "Japan-ROK relationship in the Asian and global context".

It now behooves us to cement our mutual trust more than anything as the foundation for this important partnership. Never should we allow ourselves to forget the fact that, at certain moments in the history of our relations with your country for the past couple of millennia, Japan was the assailant and Korea was the victim. Allow me to take this opportunity to express our sincere remorse and apology for Japanese past actions which inflicted unbearable suffering and sorrow on the people of the Korean Peninsula. Recently, the issue of "comfort women" in the service of the Imperial Japanese Army has come into light. I cannot help feeling acutely distressed over this, and I express my sincerest apology.

As one who lived through the last world war, I believe that history must be taught correctly to the future generations who will be responsible for the 21st century by teaching them our faults as faults so that they will never again be repeated. That is the responsibility of our generation, myself included. While Japan has been working to disseminate correct understanding about the relationship between our two countries, we intend to continue to work bard to that end. I am determined to nurture in the Japanese people, especially our youth, the courage to face squarely the past facts, understanding for the feelings of the victims and a sense of admonition that these misdeeds should never be repeated.

Today, the relationship of mutual exchange and interdependence between Japan and the Republic of Korea is growing by leaps and bounds, and with it, undeniably, new frictions and issues are arising. Yet, it should be possible through candid dialogue to seek out solutions to these problems based on understanding and collaboration. Trade imbalance, I am convinced, will be resolved by way of expanding the two-way trade toward a better balance as a result of mutual cooperation. To that end, I have proposed to President Roh Tae Woo the establishment of a forum comprising mainly business-men of both countries. Placing this forum under my direct concern, I should like it to discuss most candidly the causes of and measures to redress trade imbalance. The Government of Japan shall take up the recommendations of the forum in a positive manner.

It is incumbent upon us to do our best to achieve harmony and cooperation between our two countries with our sight constantly set on the world of tomorrow. It is vitally important that we build a new world through the deepening of Japan-ROK relations oriented to the future.

The foundation of any bilateral cooperation is mutual understanding. To promote that, each side must become well versed with the history, culture and society and other attributes of the other side. Following President Roh Tae Woo's visit to Japan the year-before-last, interest has been rising afresh in Japan about the exchanges between our two countries since ancient times and about the history and culture of your country.

I intend to adopt the following measures to make the best of this rise in interest. One is to promote further education research at Japanese universities on the culture, language, etc. of the Korean Peninsula, as well as joint research by Japanese and Korean universities. Through such endeavors, academic and intellectual interchange between our countries can be expected to grow. Another measure is to translate into Japanese outstanding books on your history, culture, thoughts, biographies, etc., and publish them in Japan to spread understanding about your country among broad strata of Japanese people. As to youth exchange, an area of activity in which various measures have been taken to date, I should like to invite 500 additional Korean youth to Japan over a five year period starting next fiscal year. Further, I feel that not only these bilateral exchanges but also broader-based exchanges including our neighboring countries may be useful. To this end, I am now considering a multilateral exchange program which will involve the young people of Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, the former Soviet Union, etc.

At the same time, I very much hope that understanding of Japanese history, culture, society and so on will be furthered in your country as well. Should the efforts on both sides make progress, human and cultural interchange should reach new heights, and will, no doubt, put our bilateral relations of friendship and cooperation on an ever more solid ground.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Your economic growth called the "Miracle of the Han River" is already well-known to the world. The days when Japan was the only industrialized country in Asia are fast fading into the past. There now is a widening expanse of areas in Asia and the world community where our two countries must work together hand in hand.

First, I wish to act in concert with your country which has now become a donor country to promote economic contribution. Would it not be wonderful to promote together economic cooperation for the developing world by taking advantage of the rich experience both of us have?

I also wish to cooperate with the Republic of Korea for the successful outcome of the Uruguay Round, since Japan and the Republic of Korea, as beneficiaries of the free trading system, need to strive to preserve and strengthen that system.

Let me also cite bilateral cooperation on environment as a new area for cooperation. Let us together address this area as a trans-border challenge in order to leave for our posterity a shining 21st century with beautiful natural heritage.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In my hometown of Fukuyama City in Hiroshima Prefecture, there is a port town by the name of Tomonoura that has thrived from old times as a hub for maritime transport. A port of call for the envoys from your country during the Edo period, I often went thereto play as a small child. There still remains the lodging for the envoy's delegation at the Fukuzenji temple there, wherein hangs "Taichourou," the name of the lodging, in a wooden frame. This wooden frame is said to have been made by using the three Chinese characters that the envoy Hong Kay Hui, who named the lodging, had his son Hong Kyun Hae write and gave to the chief priest of the temple. The sea at Tomonoura studded with islands, is one of the scenic masterpieces of the Seto Inland Sea. I very much hope that you will visit these relics of Japan-Korea contacts in the days of yore when you find yourself in Japan.

I most earnestly hope that we shall be able to build on this history of contacts bestowed on us by our ancestors and forge "Japan-ROK relations in the Asian and global context" which will ensure friendship and cooperation for hundreds and thousands of years. I wish to conclude my speech by hoping that this visit of mine to your country will contribute, even if in a small way, to realizing such a progress in our bilateral relations.

Thank you.