"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] Opening Remarks by Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa at the Tokyo Conference on Assistance to the New Independent States

[Place] Tokyo
[Date] October 29, 1992
[Source] DIPLOMATIC BLUEBOOK 1992, Japan's Diplomatic Activities, pp. 446-449
[Full text]

1. Opening Remarks

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great honor to welcome you all to the Tokyo Conference on Assistance to the New Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union. My special warm welcome is extended to all the delegates from the 12 nations who have become new members of the world community.

Their entry into the family of nations symbolizes the end of the Cold War, and marked, as well, the beginning of a new era in which the peoples of the world can truly share the same aspiration for democracy and free economy.

It is no easy task to make this aspiration a reality. But the fact that representatives from 70 countries and 20 international organizations are with us today demonstrates the firm commitment of the international community to assist the New Independent States in their efforts for socio-economic as well as political reforms. One eloquent proof of this commitment is the addition of new parts of the world compared to the Washington and Lisbon Conferences.

Further, this is the first international conference of this kind held in the Asia-Pacific region, a region known for its political stability and thriving economies; a region that not only occupies a wide expanse of the Eurasian continent but has shared, for many centuries, historical, cultural and religious heritages with the peoples of the New Independent States. We, the nations of the Asia-Pacific region, have had relatively new experiences as modern nation states. That is why I am confident that we can contribute meaningfully to the efforts of the New Independent States for political and economic changes.

The enormous challenges ahead of the NIS remind me of the similar challenges which Japan faced in the course of reconstructing the nation following the devastation of war. I was involved in that process as aide to a senior statesman. My experience imprinted in me the belief that it was the painstaking and persistent endeavor and the will on the part of the people, rather than the assistance rendered by the international community, that can, in the end, change the situation.

2. Significance of Reforms within the NIS

Ladies and gentlemen,

No historical event in the postwar period parallels in importance the fall of the Wall of Berlin in November 1989, and the birth of the 12 New Independent States in December 1991. This series of events opened a new page in the history of mankind that enabled us to work together for economic advancement in peace and stability.

The reform processes these new states are currently undergoing have a historic significance in three aspects. Firstly, it is a challenge to establish democracy based on the principles of freedom and pluralistic values. Secondly, it is a challenge to establish free market and open economies through the introduction of price liberalization, tight monetary and fiscal policies and privatization. Thirdly, it is a challenge to establish constructive and cooperative partnerships with the rest of the world.

These are not just challenges for the New Independent States, but, rather, challenges for all of us here today. They are a part of the process of increasing global interdependence. We are all working for a world where freer and more open economic and political systems, technological innovation and revolutionary developments in flows of information enable direct interactions among peoples, transcending national differences. However, socio-political instability and conflicts in some parts of the New Independent States are sources of grave concern to all of us because they could undermine the fruits of the reform efforts. In this crucial period of nation-building in the NIS, and construction of a new international structure for peace and progress, let me express my hope that these problems and differences will be addressed peacefully and with a maximum degree of patience and tolerance.

3. Japan's Policy to the New Independent States

Ladies and gentlemen,

The New Independent States have a great potential for economic development because they are endowed with resources indispensable for socio-economic advancement, such as abundant natural resources and well-educated population. At the same time, three quarters of a century of centrally-planned economic management made it impossible for their peoples to fully utilize these invaluable resources. All of us here today are concerned over the current situation in the NIS, and are committed to standing side by side with the peoples of the NIS as they grapple with their difficulties.

The technical assistance which the international community has been extending to the NIS under the Washington Process is conceived in the spirit of "help for self-help," without which any assistance can hardly bear fruit. I am convinced that bilateral and multilateral technical assistance programs should not just continue but should be accelerated further under the new coordinating framework, so that the NIS can accomplish their reforms effectively and efficiently. Japan, for one, has attached special importance to technical assistance, because, in our own experience, it was often technical assistance that truly motivated and pushed people forward along the path of progress. Japan has played an active role as co-chair of the Technical Assistance Working Group together with the United States and the European Community, and is determined to play an equally active role in the future coordinating process.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It was clear at the outset of the Washington Process that the New Independent States, adversely affected both by the severe winter and by the deterioration of socio-economic fabrics, needed emergency humanitarian assistance. With the approach of another winter only a few weeks away, this Conference is expected to assess the humanitarian situation and requirements as objectively as possible.

Any deficiency of food, medicine or energy could have devastating effects on certain regions, or socially vulnerable populace. If the situation were to worsen due to social unrest or ethnic strife, the results could be ominous. Let me thus stress that these conflicts should be settled through peaceful means. Let me also take this opportunity to assure you that the Government and people of Japan will extend additional humanitarian assistance to the peoples of the NIS with particular emphasis on the Russian Far East.

4. Conclusion

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished guests,

It is my hope that this Tokyo Conference will mark not only the end of the Washington Process but also the beginning of a new coordinating mechanism of international assistance to the New Independent States with full support of all the peoples concerned. In concluding my remarks, allow me once again to extend my warm welcome to our friends from the New Independent States, and to wish that your brief stay in Japan will serve as the beginning of lasting friendship that leads to truly constructive and cooperative relations in the years to come.

Thank you very much.