"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] Press Conference by the G8 Presidency Opening Statement by the Preime Minister Yoshiro Mori of Japan, Okinawa Summit

[Place] Presidency Press Conference Hall, International Media Center, Nago, Okinawa
[Date] July 23, 2000
[Source] http://www.g8kyushu-okinawa.go.jp/e/press/pre0723.html
[Notes] Time, 13:00 to 13:30, Attendants, Approximately 500 journalists
[Full text]

Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori of Japan: Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen for coming. At the end of the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit Heads of State and Government Meeting, allow me to report to you as the Chair. This time it was decided to hold the Summit in Okinawa with the full affection of the late Prime Minister, Mr. Keizo Obuchi. Taking on his wishes, various people have kindly cooperated, and I would like to thank Governor Inamine of the Prefecture of Okinawa, and all the people of Okinawa for making this Summit a most wonderful one befitting the turn of the century into the 21st. I would like to first thank all of you for this. Also, throughout the preparations and the Summit Meeting itself, I would like to thank all of you, the press reporters from around the world, for covering the Summit Meetings around the clock.

We, the G8 Leaders, here in Okinawa, engaged in very lively and fruitful discussions as to what we need to do to make the 21st century full of peace and hope, and enable people to enjoy greater prosperity, to attain peace of mind, and live in a more stable world. We all decided to do our utmost to these ends. I did my best to put together the views of the participating Leaders, and I did my utmost to open up the path for the world and Japan into the 21st century. I, therefore, on the occasion of this press conference, should like to report to you about the achievements of the Summit Meeting. Many children, young ones, are with us here at the press conference. The G8 has made several undertakings at this Summit as to what we, grown-ups, need to do so that the 21st century in which you, the young ones, will live will be able to make a head start. I hope the younger generation will listen to what I have to say.

In its history of a quarter of a century, the Summit of industrialized countries has striven to spread democracy, market economies, and human rights around the world. If we are to make the 21st century a century filled with human dignity, unlike the 20th century, which was a century of agony, everyone on earth will need to be able to enjoy these universal values. The results of our discussions at the Summit this time are reflected in the Communique distributed to you.

As the G8 Chair, I took up Information Technology (IT), one of the most powerful forces that will shape the 21st century, as one of the main items on the agenda. What do we need to do so that everyone will be able to enjoy the maximum benefits of information technology? How can we best overcome the Digital Divide between the developing and developed worlds? These were the main points of the discussions on IT. As a result, we came up with the Okinawa Charter that calls on the entire world to participate. I believe this Okinawa Charter will play an important role in the future development of the world economy. Japan will engage expeditiously in the necessary regulatory reform so that the necessary environment will be put in place, such as the necessary infrastructure, the relevant rules, and networks, and so on, so that IT will serve as the trigger for further economic development.

Also externally, Japan wishes to actively promote international cooperation through comprehensive cooperation measures amounting to approximately $15 billion over the coming five years. The world cannot prosper more if the developing world fails to develop. As indicated by the rapid growth of East Asia and Southeast Asia over the past 40 years, the developing world needs to achieve growth and equitable distribution of wealth which is the result of growth, if they are to overcome the poverty problem and reduce poverty. We must change the reality that as many as 1.2 billion people still live with $1 a day or less.

One of the impediments to the development efforts of the developing countries is the diseases that afflict people. In order to respond to infectious diseases, the international community needs to establish clear targets, and work in a new partnership with advanced countries, developing countries, private businesses, NGOs, and international institutions as well as all other stakeholders. Japan shall continue to exercise leadership in the resolution of various problems related to the development of these countries, and shall provide US$3 billion or so, over the coming five years, and strengthen our cooperation in this area of infectious diseases and relevant areas.

We also need to expeditiously and effectively implement and enhance the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, agreed on in Cologne last year. To this end, the advanced countries, the IMF, World Bank, and other international institutions will have to redouble their efforts, and at the same time, the debtor countries themselves will have to develop their poverty reduction strategies.

In the trade area, we need to support the developing countries so that they will be able to enjoy greater benefits of the multilateral trading system, centered on WTO, and at the same time, we, the G8 Leaders, agreed to redouble our efforts towards launching a broad-based new round before the end of the year. Any economic prosperity will be meaningless if every single person on earth cannot enjoy happiness, and therefore, in order to realize the second theme, which is attaining deeper peace of mind, we addressed the issues of a global nature such as crime, aging, food safety, and so on, which causes greater concerns in the minds of people in the midst of globalization.

In the area of crime, crime disregards borders and creates new threats, and therefore early adoption of the UN Convention Against Transnational Crime is necessary, and in the high-tech crime area, we would like to call on further promotion of dialogue between government and industry. The drugs, especially amphetamine-type stimulants are destroying the lives of many citizens. In order to overcome the abuse of drugs, there is a need for steady implementation of international cooperation. Also in the area of crime, we also have to be caring towards the victims of crime. We, in cooperation with the civil society, would like me to consider seriously measures for the socially vulnerable that may be involved in crimes. On aging, the people in Okinawa may take this for granted, but we here in Okinawa, the prefecture with the greatest longevity in Japan, stress the importance for the elderly to participate actively in society.

On food safety, we established a common understanding at this Meeting that there is a need for further dialogue involving developing countries and civil society and also promotion of scientific studies. I believe that we have been able to indicate the path towards establishing an international consensus on this point.

Having said that, prosperity and peace of mind may be undermined by conflicts, and that is why, as the third theme of this Summit, we talk about this as greater stability in the 21st century, and appealed to the importance of addressing non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament as well as conflict prevention. We agreed that we shall, in a comprehensive manner, address conflict prevention under the culture of prevention. Against that backdrop, we believe that the North-South Summit on the Korean Peninsula was a major progress towards peace and stability in Asia, and indeed, an historic event. We agreed to provide full backup to these developments. Also with regards to the Middle East peace process, we shall provide our support so that these historic talks will come to fruition.

The mountain of global problems including the development problem, needless to say, cannot be resolved by G8 countries alone, and therefore we would like to cooperate with countries that are not participating in this G8 grouping. We should like to cooperate with other international organizations, as well as NGOs. We shall listen to the voices of people, and build up a community in which all the men and women, young and old, in all countries will participate together. Even before this Summit Meeting, we have listened to the voices of many people, and for that, Prime Minister Obuchi went to UNCTAD X as the only leader of the industrialized world, and as you may know, I myself in April hosted the Pacific Island Leaders' Meeting in Miyazaki in April. We also engaged in useful exchange of views with the leaders of trade unions and NGOs from around the world. These views that we heard I believe are very valuable as we think of the future of the Summit. That is the position indicated by the Leaders of the G8 countries. On the occasion of the Summit this time, we also met with the presidents of Nigeria, South Africa, and Algeria, as well as the Prime Minister of Thailand, who represent the organizations and groupings of developing countries, as well as the President of the World Bank, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, as well as the administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. Through these exchanges of views, I believe we were able to confirm together that the 21st century should be one for every single person of the six billion inhabitants of this planet.

Also, during the meeting, I gladly accepted Prime Minister Amato's invitation to hold the next G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy. The duty for us Leaders of the G8 is to pass over the will, and I believe by passing on the will we shall be able to build a better world.

Also, immediately before this G8 Summit, a Summit meeting of G8 countries' high school students was held. These high school students, I told my colleagues, were saying they wanted to hold a similar high school summit next year. I told this to Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, and Prime Minister Amato responded by saying that he would definitely like to consider such a possibility. So, this is what I wanted to report to the participants of that high school student summit.

As I stated at the outset, we have benefited from the support and cooperation of a very large number of people in bringing this Summit to a successful conclusion. My special thanks to the people of Okinawa Prefecture, volunteers and the security officers. I saw numerous volunteers outside in their yellow uniform jacket, controlling traffic. Many of these people, as we went to Shuri Castle yesterday, were also working very hard out on the streets alongside the police officers. And also my thanks go to the security officers who resolutely discharged their responsibilities, the police force and the Japan Coast Guard, all the people, who in some way, in one way or another, contributed to the success of this Summit Meeting. Thank you to all of you.