"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 Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi toward the Early and comprehensive Solution of the Case of the Emigrants to the Dominican Republic

[Date] July 21, 2006
[Source] Cabinet Public Affairs Office, Cabinet Secretariat
[Full text]

With regard to the emigration programme to the Dominican Republic implemented from 1956 to 1959, throughout this period the emigrants had faced tremendous difficulties in settling down because of the insufficient preliminary research and disclosure of the information. The emigrants thereafter underwent the years of hardship that were combined with unfortunate circumstances such as the extensive social upheaval within the country and the frequent occurrence of nationwide natural disasters. I express my deep respect for these emigrants who have overcome these difficulties, made plenty of efforts, and contributed to developing the friendship between Japan and the Dominican Republic.

Concerning the emigration to the Dominican Republic, on June 7 the Tokyo District Court made the decision in the first trial of the case in which the Japanese emigrants to the Dominican Republic demanded the governmental compensation. I take this ruling seriously, fully considering the severe remarks made about the response by the Government at the time that the emigration programme was implemented. The Government is truly remorseful and apologizes for the immense hardship the emigrants have undergone caused by the response of the Government at that time.

The Government has judged, in full consideration of the facts that the emigrants are now aged, among other factors, that the case of the emigrants to the Dominican Republic must be solved as early and as fully as possible. In light of this, the Government has decided to offer a special one-time payment for each of the emigrants to the Dominican Republic of that time to reward their endeavors. The government is going to accelerate the dialogues swiftly in order to enable the Diet to legislate necessary actions for the purpose.

Based on my statement at the Diet in March 2004, the Government has been promoting dialogue and coordination with the emigrants to the Dominican Republic from the perspective of considering what the Government can do for the benefit the society of Japanese-origin people as a whole and the development of friendly relationship between Japan and the Dominican Republic. As a result, the Government is firmly committed to enhancing cooperation such as support for building a stronghold for the Japanese-origin people, aids for those elderly and in want including the expansion of the allowance for emigrants in difficulties, and human resource development through the invitation of the descendants of the emigrants to Japan. At the same time, concerning the emigration loans, the Government is also committed to seeking to solve the problems through measures such as alleviating the loan burdens that have become excessive due to rapid swings in foreign exchange rates.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the emigration to the Dominican Republic, with a series of commemorative events scheduled to take place. The government is going to send a special envoy to the ceremony to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Japanese emigration to the Dominican Republic. I sincerely hope that this ceremony will be an opportunity of warm congratulations shared by both the people of Japan and the Dominican Republic.