"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 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Following his visit to Germany for the G8 Summit Meeting in Heiligendamm (G8 Heiligendamm Summit)

[Place] Heiligendamm
[Date] June 8, 2007
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

I. Opening Statement

PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE: This Heiligendamm Summit was for me the very first G8 Summit, and I believe I managed to contribute to the results of the meeting by actively participating in the candid and animated discussions among the leaders. At this year's summit addressing climate change was an important theme.

Ahead of this summit I had shared the recognition with Premier Wen Jiabao of China and President Bush of the United States that it is important to address climate change. Also, on the 24 May, last month, I announced the "Cool Earth 50" initiative as my initiative to counter global warming, and called on the world to respond. In my meetings immediately before the summit with President Bush, I explained the importance of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and also explained my initiative, and I also emphasized the importance of reaching consensus in my meeting with Chancellor Merkel and had detailed discussions on the matter with her.

During the meeting I advocated the three principles for establishing the "Post-Kyoto" Framework: participation by major emitting countries, due consideration for differing circumstances in the participating countries and compatibility between environmental protection and economic growth, along with the long-term goal of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the core of my initiative.

The discussions revolved around these points that I made, and my proposal itself was included in the leader's document. I feel content that I have been able to make significant contributions to the discussions and the outcome of this Summit.

Also in our meeting with the leaders of emerging countries, they expressed strong expectations in the financing mechanism that I proposed as part of my initiative. Japan shall continue to fulfill its responsibilities and obligations in addressing climate change. Since Japan's proposal has been taken into the Summit Document I believe we do have the responsibility to achieve the objectives, and we have an obligation to meet our undertaking under the Kyoto Protocol. We shall strive to meet our obligations through, for example, a nationwide campaign which I am leading at the helm to reduce CO2 emissions by 1 kg per capita per day.

On North Korea I was a lead speaker. The points I made were that possession of nuclear weapons by North Korea is absolutely unacceptable, and the abduction issue is international in scope -- one that requires a firm response from the Group of Eight countries through close coordination, because these are matters of human rights and it is a crime committed by the state. Therefore we believe that we were able to come out with a strong message in the Chair's summary with support by leaders of participating nations.

During the visit to Germany this time I had very meaningful one-on-one meetings with Chancellor Merkel of Germany, President Bush of the United States, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and also President Hu Jintao of China. I also had a very good Japan-EU regular Summit meeting, and I shall be meeting with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations after this press conference.

Next year Japan shall have the pleasure of hosting the G8 colleagues at Lake Toya, Hokkaido. I very much hope they will enjoy the beautiful nature of Japan. As an environment friendly country I would like to take up the issues of the environment and climate change as the major issues to be addressed. The results of this Heiligendamm Summit should provide the foundation for our work towards next year's Summit. We should like to strive to build important results on the outcome of Heiligendamm.

I would like to make next year's G8 Summit as environmentally friendly as possible, and shall make it a showcase of Japan's environmental technology and know-how, because Japan does have cutting-edge energy conservation and environmental technology, and so, as I said, I would like to make it a showcase of such technology and know-how and I would like members of the press from around the world to experience it, so I hope you will look forward to it. Thank you very much.

II. Question concerning issues discussed with President Hu Jintao in the bilateral summit meeting

QUESTION: You have just finished the Japan-China bilateral summit meeting with President Hu Jintao. During your meeting, what sort of discussions took place on the global warming issues, the gas field development in the East China Sea, and also the visit by Lee Teng-hui of Taiwan to Japan? About the global warming, yesterday among the G8 the agreement has been reached, but then how would you involve China to the same ground of discussion when China insists that developed countries and developing countries have different obligations and responsibilities. I don't think that would be easy, but going forward in the future how would you approach China and have them involved in this same framework?

PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE: Well, I just had a one-on-one meeting with President Hu Jintao. We did agree once again that we shall grow Japan-China relations as a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests, and we should like to address various regional and global issues in a cooperative manner. With regard to the visit to Japan by Mr. Lee Teng-hui, that was not raised in our meeting at all. As for the issue of climate change, I once again explained Japan's initiative to President Hu Jintao. In other words, I discussed Japan's proposal which I call "Cool Earth 50," and President Hu Jintao said that he would seriously study Japan's proposal, and would like to step up cooperation with Japan.

This environment issue is indeed a matter that can bring benefits to the peoples of our two countries through bilateral cooperation, and indeed the most suitable area for building a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests. Japan's proposal is to build an international framework in which all major emitting countries would participate and the G8 gathering did show understanding to this proposal. I should like to continue to appeal for further cooperation vis-a-vis all major emitting countries -- the U.S., China, and India included.

Also, when Premier Wen Jiabao visited Japan we discussed this participation -- in fact we did come out with a joint statement that included the building of a framework with the participation of major emitting countries, so as President Hu said we would like to further step up this bilateral cooperation.

In my meeting with President Hu on the development of resources in the East China Sea we agreed that we shall speed up bilateral consultations toward the coming Autumn in order to come up with an idea that will be mutually acceptable. On the question of the exportation of Japanese rice to China, I mentioned that this certainly will be symbolic for the building of a mutually beneficial strategic relationship, and President Hu also responded by saying that he would like to use the exportation of Japanese rice in the interest of developing further friendly relations.

III. Question concerning raising awareness of the North Korean abduction issue in order to ensure its rapid resolution

QUESTION: Prime Minister Abe, you earlier talked about North Korean issues -- nuclear or missile issues are one -- matters of grave concern and dangerous issues for the world, but in the case of human rights issues, the abduction issues have not been fully resolved, even though partly solved, and Prime Minister Abe you have been involved and contributing to the resolution of this issue for quite a long time, but I think and I feel that concerning North Korea Japan talks about economic sanctions and the US also considers financial sanctions, and President Putin says that he would also side with economic sanctions. However, in the case of the EU, even though they place emphasis on human rights, they are not very strong in their approach to this issue. Chancellor Merkel had difficult experiences of human rights in the past in East Germany, and also the Pope and the Vatican also talk of human rights, but their approach has not been strong enough. Prime Minister Abe, how did you deal with this issue and try to take care of this issue?

PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE: On this abduction issue, many Japanese citizens were kidnapped including a 13 year old girl, so it is an unforgivable crime committed by a state. It is a major violation of human rights. These are points that I explained in the meeting.

I think the countries concerned are now beginning to gain an in-depth understanding. The abduction issue is not just a problem for Japan -- indeed it is an issue with international scope because the citizens of other countries have also been abducted. The leaders of other countries have indicated understanding and support vis-a-vis my explanation, and as a result of that in the Chair's Summary we were able to include a very forceful message including a call for an early resolution of the abduction issue. So, I should like to build on the outcome of this G8 Summit and I should like to work towards the early resolution of this abduction issue in coordination with the EU countries that attach importance to human rights, and also with the international community, and we would like to work on this with a will of steel.

IV. Question concerning the North Korean nuclear issue

QUESTION: If I may continue my question in connection with North Korea. During the St. Petersburg Summit last time North Korea was strongly condemned in connection with their launching missiles and they continue with similar activities. What sort of measures did you ask vis-a-vis North Korea? What would be the measures taken?

Also, in addition, during the summit this time, not only North Korean issues, but other issues such as Kosovo, Afghanistan, and the Middle East have been put forth as serious issues. Next year Japan will be chairing the G8. In that capacity, in order for Japan to exercise leadership do you have any plan of actively engaging in other issues as such, including the human resources contribution by Japan?

PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE: With regard to the North Korea nuclear issue, even to this day North Korea has not yet implemented the initial actions of the agreement, and that is most regrettable. Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the ultimate objective, and to that end the international community needs to maintain coordination and come up with strong messages, and at times, as necessary, apply pressure on North Korea; that is what I said in the G8 meeting. The leaders of the participating countries expressed their support to the position that I explained. So alongside the abduction issue the G8 Summit I believe was able to send out a message on this matter.

Also, under the assertive diplomacy that I have been advocating, we believe that we need to address various challenges, together with countries that share values, or the international community, on the reconstruction of Afghanistan, for example. We have already provided US$1.2 billion or more in assistance and have also been engaging in refueling operations in the Indian Ocean, and also have built a mechanism for cooperation in the humanitarian area in coordination with the provincial reconstruction teams (PRT). This is a point that I made in my speech at the NATO headquarters. Also we have been addressing very actively the issues of resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue and also peace consolidation in the Sudan. These are matters that I explained as what Japan has been thinking about that Japan can act on at the G8 Summit meeting on the financing side, and also for reconstruction assistance we believe we need to engage actively, including contributing human resources.

Next year's G8 will be held in Japan, and as the presidency for the next G8 of course we Japan need to fulfill our responsibilities regarding various international challenges.

V. Question concerning the stable development of Japan-China relations

QUESTION: Prime Minister, you just mentioned that the visit by Taiwanese former President Lee did not come up in your meeting with the Chinese President. Do you think that this is a sign that your relations with China have moved on to a new stage, and such kind of small problems will not affect you so much anymore?

PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE: Well, to grow Japan-China relations in a stable manner, this is a common understanding of the two countries, both Japan and China, I believe. For the two countries to cooperate with each other will be in the interest not only of the two countries concerned, but also for the regional community as well, and both countries as responsible states in the region need to discharge our responsibility as such. I believe that understanding is growing in both our countries.

Last year I visited China and met with President Hu Jintao and later on, also last year, I met with him in Hanoi on the occasion of the APEC summit, and I was able to meet with him again this year here, and also Premier Wen Jiabao visited Japan in April, so political dialogue has been developing in a very stable manner, and of course at the people's level, more than 10,000 people visit each other every day. So the exchanges between our two countries are growing, and economic ties of course are inseparable, so at the people's level and also at the political level there is growing awareness as I said, and as a result the relationship between our two countries now is very stable, as I see it.