"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] Remarks by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on the Occasion of the Reception with African Diplomatic Corps

[Date] June 20, 2002
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

His Excellency, Ambassador Farah of Djibuti, Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps,


Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to have this opportunity to meet all of you tonight. This is the first occasion since I had moved into this new office that we have had so many distinguished foreign guests.

Next week I will attend the G8 Summit in Kananaskis, Canada. The most important item on the agenda is Africa. It is for this reason that I have taken the initiative to have an opportunity tonight to share directly with you my passionate thoughts on Africa.

At the Summit, my colleagues and I will discuss how the G8 countries can collaborate with African countries. This idea developed from the dialogue with the leaders of the developing countries that was first initiated by Japan at the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit in 2000. I have given serious thought to the greater needs of African countries and compiled a paper entitled "Solidarity Between Japan and Africa - Concrete Actions -."

Africa has clearly shown its determination to chart its own future. We welcome the launching of NEPAD, the New Partnership for Africa's Development, and the evolution of the OAU, the Organization of African Unity, into the AU, African Union, as clear indications of such determination.

Japan has been advocating the importance of ownership by African countries themselves and partnership with the international community that supports such ownership. The Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD, process symbolizes Japan's continued commitment to addressing issues facing Africa and its determination to work hand in hand with Africa in the international community.

The "Solidarity Between Japan and Africa - Concrete Actions -", which I am going to announce tonight, also represents the determination that Japan feels. Let me emphasize the three major pillars of this program.

First, Japan attaches much importance to "human-centered-development" recognizing that the development of human resources is the foundation of nation building. This recognition is fully based on Japan's own experience.

In my inaugural speech, I referred to the story of one hundred sacks of rice, which underlines the importance of investing in human resources even in times of extreme poverty. It is in this spirit that Japan has been extending its assistance with emphasis upon education and health. In particular, in basic education sector, Japan announces its "Basic Education for Growth Initiative" or "BEGIN". In addition, Japan decides to extend assistance in the field of education worth more than 2 billion dollars over the next five years to low-income countries including those in Africa.

At TICAD II in 1998, Japan made a commitment to extend assistance worth about 750 million dollars over a five-year period to Africa in the fields of education, health and supply of safe water. This aid package has produced many concrete results and I would like to reiterate today that Japan will continue to implement this commitment.

On food security, I hope to bring about a true "Green Revolution" in Africa. Japan is currently supporting efforts in some parts of Africa to develop and encourage the use of "NERICA Rice" a new hybrid of African and Asian stock, in an effort to strengthen food security in Africa. "NERICA Rice" symbolizes a new style of Asia-Africa cooperation, in which Africa benefits from the development experiences of Asia.

Second, Japan believes that in order to reduce hunger and poverty and to achieve sustainable development in Africa, it is necessary not only to utilize official development assistance, but also to mobilize a wide variety of financial resources including domestic capital, trade and investment. In this regard, Japan believes that it is of great importance to improve market access for products from developing countries. Currently, almost all of LDCs' industrial products are offered duty-free and quota-free access as a result of an expansion of product-coverage in April 2001.

We are determined to continue to work towards the objective of duty-free and quota-free market access for all LDCs' products.

From this point of view, I have taken the decision to examine immediately to expand coverage under duty-free and quota-free treatment for LDCs' products by the revisions of tariff-related laws for the next fiscal year which begins on 1 April, 2003.

Third, Japan is determined to support African countries recovering from conflict, so that they will not slacken in their efforts for conflict resolution and peace building. Japan, for instance, has recently decided to extend the $US 3.09 million dollar assistance, through the Trust Fund for Human Security, to the project for the re-integration of ex-combatants in Sierra Leone. Japan is also considering taking measures to support Angola, which has just recovered from a long civil war.

Japan will also support efforts to promote the culture of conflict prevention, and we will continue our assistance to refugees through such organization as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

There will be no stability and prosperity in the international community in the 21st century unless the problems of Africa are resolved. Despite severe constraints surrounding Japan's Official Development Assistance, Japan remains determined to stand by Africa. The period until the upcoming TICAD III later next year has been designated as the "Year for Soaring Cooperation with Africa". In the run-up to TICAD III, Japan will exchange views with African countries and work hard to promote concrete measures to enhance solidarity with Africa.

Let me conclude my speech by proposing a toast for further strengthening the solidarity between Japan and Africa.