Minutes of Joint Press Conference
On 29 December during his visit to India, Dr Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister of Japan, held a joint press conference with Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India following a Japan-India summit meeting.
Prime Minister Singh stated he was very pleased that Prime Minister Hatoyama visited India shortly after his party's historic victory in the general elections. He noted that Japan and India were two countries in the Asian region sharing common values and interests, and that Japan was exercising leadership in order to bring prosperity to the region. He said that at the summit meeting just concluded, he and Prime Minister Hatoyama reviewed the progress in bilateral relations and both confirmed that they would develop to a new level the Strategic and Global Partnership between Japan and India agreed in December 2006.
Concerning bilateral relations, Prime Minister Singh expressed his intention to expand cooperation in the fields of defence, security, and counter-terrorism along with his satisfaction at the finalisation of the Action Plan referred to in the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation between Japan and India agreed last year. Regarding the economy, he noted that India welcomed Japanese investment and looked forward to further cooperation in such areas as the development of urban infrastructure, advanced technologies, renewable energies, and energy conservation technologies. He expressed the hope that, although negotiations on the Japan-India Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) were currently stalled, a balanced EPA whose content is highly satisfactory would be concluded before next year's Japan-India summit meeting. The Prime Minister then spoke of his intention to confirm the details of the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) Project within the coming several months and his aim to commence implementation of the Project during 2010. Similarly, he indicated his determination to advance the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) Project as well as exchanges in education, culture, and science and technology, noting he was pleased at progress in cooperation to establish the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IITH).
Addressing global issues, Prime Minister Singh then explained that he had discussed with Prime Minister Hatoyama such topics as the G20, climate change issues including the Copenhagen Accord, energy security, terrorism, the reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and nonproliferation. He expressed his view that an open, inclusive, highly transparent and forward-looking regional architecture within Asia and the Pacific is necessary for peace and stability and welcomed Prime Minister Hatoyama's East Asian community initiative.
Finally, he said that he looked forward to the further consolidation of Japan-India relations under the Strategic and Global Partnership between Japan and India, which has reached a new stage.
Next, Prime Minister Hatoyama stressed his love of India and of the Indian people and thanked Prime Minister Singh sincerely for extending to him the invitation to visit India during 2009. He stated that in Mumbai, where he had visited before his arrival in New Delhi, he had expressed his deep condolences for the lives lost in the series of terrorist attacks there last year, and he was also greatly moved by Mumbai's dynamism and its strong will to overcome this tragedy. He said that his great fondness of India had deepened further through the warm hospitality he received during this visit.
Prime Minister Hatoyama stated with regard to the summit talks held that day that he was pleased the two nations shared the view that the Strategic and Global Partnership between Japan and India had reached a new stage, and that relations between the two countries were being strengthened on many levels. Indicating that he had extended to Prime Minister Singh an invitation to visit Japan at a suitable time next year, Prime Minister Hatoyama then emphasised the great significance within the context of the development of Japan-India relations that the two leaders conduct mutual visits on an annual basis.
In the area of security, he expressed his satisfaction that the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation between Japan and India has been further deepened through the completion of the Action Plan, and he welcomed the countries' agreements to hold Sub-cabinet/Senior Officials 2+2 dialogues and to strengthen bilateral cooperation on piracy countermeasures in sea lanes and off the coast of Somalia. Regarding economic issues, he highlighted the fact that although Japan-India trade remains at one-twentieth the size of the Japan-China trade figure, the amount of Japan's direct investment in India in fiscal 2008 had surpassed the amount of its direct investment in China. He stressed the need to conclude a Japan-India EPA at an early date in order to spur on this trend. While some issues remain, he indicated the two leaders' intention to lead the Japan-India EPA to a successful conclusion by instructing their relevant officials to accelerate the negotiations to the greatest possible extent. The Prime Minister indicated with regard to the DFC Project that the safety of Japanese railways would serve the interests of India well and that the Project would be of major benefit to both Japan and India. He hoped to advance the vision of the DMIC to the stage of implementation through Japanese support from JBIC and JETRO. He noted that infrastructure development would benefit both countries, foster a favourable environment for Japanese companies to invest in India; meanwhile he sought Indian cooperation on relaxing visa requirements concerning Japanese nationals. He cited people-to-people exchanges, youth exchanges, and the enhancement of the technical skills of youth from both countries and the relations of trust among them, particularly through cooperation to establish IITH, as greatly contributing to the development of bilateral relations.
As for regional cooperation, Prime Minister Hatoyama expressed his appreciation to Prime Minister Singh for his deep interest in the East Asian community initiative. Underlining India's major and indispensable role within East Asia, he also expressed his desire to see the East Asian sub-region to play a leading role in the world.
Turning to global issues, Dr Hatoyama said that in the area of climate change, while the outcome of the Copenhagen conference was very regrettable, he hoped that a new fair and equitable agreement of which all major economies would be parties is made legally binding at an early date. Regarding disarmament and non-proliferation, he highlighted Japan and India's common stance on the elimination of nuclear weapons and acknowledged Indiafs non-proliferation efforts, also noting the potential for future cooperation on nuclear energy. The Prime Minister then stated that concerning UNSC reform Japan and India should work together as members of the G4 and as two countries in Asia, and he reiterated his intention to create an environment in which Japan and India together become permanent members of the Council.
Mr Ajay Kaul of the Press Trust of India, representing the Indian media, asked the two Prime Ministers about civil nuclear cooperation and the promotion of high technology trade, as well as about Prime Minister Singh's views on the easing of visa requirements. Prime Minister Hatoyama replied first that in recent years Japanese companies have shown high interest in establishing a presence in India and that corporate cooperation with India should also take place. He added that his intention to help foster an environment which would make it easier for Japanese companies to cooperate with their counterparts in India, in particular through the DMIC. As for the issue of relaxing regulations over high technology trade, Prime Minister Hatoyama underlined his recognition of the importance of high technology cooperation between Japan and India, noting that Prime Minister Singh had expressed his hope for major progress towards liberalisation in this area. He also confirmed that at the summit meeting Prime Minister Singh had given definite assurances to the Japanese side that Indian companies would neither divert advanced technologies [to military purposes] nor provide them to third countries. Based on these assurances Prime Minister Hatoyama indicated his intention to obtain the necessary information and to consider the matter expeditiously and if possible with a forward-looking stance.
Prime Minister Singh then stated that the two leaders had engaged in broad-ranging discussions on the issue of easing visa requirements. He pointed out to Prime Minister Hatoyama the need to increase the range of exemptions in the Japanese visa system so as to boost both Japan-India trade and people-to-people exchanges. The Indian government recently announced that Japanese tourists would be eligible for a visa on arrival (via the Bureau of Immigration [BOI]). The Indian side would consider the [further] easing of visa requirements, so he hoped that the Japanese side would do likewise.
Mr Fujita of NHK, representing the Japanese media, noted that while Japan and India seemed to have a common desire on the elimination of nuclear weapons, he perceived differences in the countries' practical approaches. He asked the two leaders whether they intended to overcome these differences and cooperate in this area.
Prime Minister Singh explained that he had had a broad exchange of views with Prime Minister Hatoyama on civil nuclear cooperation, during which he explained India's particular circumstances as well as its implementation of a unilaterally declared moratorium on nuclear testing. He claimed that India's commitment to non-proliferation was evident by the fact that the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) had granted India access to nuclear energy-related technologies and expressed his desire to cooperate with Japan and other nations towards universal and verifiable nuclear disarmament.
Prime Minister Hatoyama replied that the two leaders had indeed reaffirmed their intention to cooperate to eliminate nuclear weapons while recognising their differences concerning the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). He noted the momentum gathering globally for the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and expressed his hope that along with the United States and China, India would sign and ratify the Treaty. Prime Minister Singh indicated that should the US and China sign the CTBT, a new situation would in fact emerge, and that he considered it necessary to work globally towards the early entry into force of the Treaty. Prime Minister Hatoyama said that he raised the matter of Japan and India cooperating towards the immediate commencement and early conclusion of [negotiations on] the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), on which Prime Minister Singh expressed agreement. He also urged efforts by both Japan and India towards the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons.