Press Conference by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
Note: The opening statement and answers by Prime Minister Fukuda are simultaneous interpretation, and as such may vary slightly from the phrasing used in the original language.
Moderator: I shall now start the press conference given by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda of Japan, as the Chair of the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit.
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda: Allow me to deliver my remarks. The Summit this time became extremely important, even more so than recent ones, because this Summit took place at a time when global challenges such as ongoing global warming, soaring oil and food prices, and tension in financial markets are having an impact on the everyday life of people very close to home. Against this backdrop, day and night over these three days here in Toyako, we engaged in serious discussions and we spoke out candidly, we spoke our mind, and at times our discussions got heated. But thanks to that, we have also been able to produce numerous results.
The first on climate change. We, the G8, arrived at a common view which is to seek to adopt as a global target the goal of at least a 50% reduction of global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) by 2050. This, needless to say, is based on a premise that the G8 including the US agree on this goal. There have been disparate positions on this matter amongst the G8 but I believe we have been able to arrive at a common view overcoming these differences, and have been able to make a contribution which is to add momentum to the United Nations (UN) negotiations. Apart from this, we also agreed to implement ambitious mid-term quantitative national targets, to launch an international initiative for innovative technology development, and to also launch climate investment funds to support developing countries. We also share the view that the sectoral approach is a useful means. On this occasion, as part of our efforts to promote Japan's Cool Earth Partnership initiative, we agreed on cooperation with Indonesia this time.
Further, at the Major Economies Meeting (MEM) today, building on the requests from G8 leaders yesterday, we saw eye to eye that we shall take further actions to step up our efforts on climate change. It is the very first time ever that leaders of the major economies got down to vigorous discussions on a broad range of climate change-related issues for two hours. I believe we have been able to show strong political will by the leaders, thus we have been able to achieve the initial objectives. As the Chair, I also suggested that MEM be held again at the time of the next G8 Summit, in Italy, and this was received with concurrence by the leaders. Also, there was an offer to this effect by the Prime Minister of Italy. Together with other major economies we shall step up our efforts on climate change and also provide appropriate assistance to developing countries.
The global economy was also one of the major focus points of our meeting this time. The world economy remains robust in the longer term, but tension persists in financial markets and also there is concern about the rising commodity prices and the subsequent inflationary pressures. Under this common view, G8 leaders, in order to ensure stability and growth of the economy, have shown their determination to continue with appropriate macroeconomic management and structural reforms.
On the rising oil prices, in relation to the tight supply-demand relations, it is necessary that producers and consumers cooperate in expanding production, and there is also the need to further promote energy conservation and alternative energy development. With regard to financial factors in relation to supply-demand there is a need to improve the transparency of the market whilst promoting analyses by international institutions. We, the G8, shall promote further coordination amongst the supervising authorities of commodity futures markets.
Towards the successful World Trade Organization Doha Round we also expressed our concerted determination to support a successful conclusion of the Ministerial Meeting in two weeks' time.
Development was also one of the focuses of our discussion this time. This year is the mid-point towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Building on this, G8 leaders renewed their determination to help achieve the MDGs in cooperation with developing countries. We also had intensive discussions on the area of health and came up with the Toyako Framework for Action on Global Health, which provides the framework of cooperation in the future. Also, we renewed our determination to implement the existing commitments in this area. We also came up with concrete results on increasing the number of health workers and addressing infectious diseases.
On rising food prices the G8 will address urgent support needs and at the same time shall support developing countries in stepping up their agricultural production as a medium- to long-term response. We also called for removal of export regulations and also for the release of food stocks, just as Japan has already done. In order to further promote efforts, we decided to establish a G8 Experts Panel and hold a G8 Agricultural Ministers' Meeting.
With regard to assistance for African countries, building on the outcome of the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), we agreed to get down to concrete efforts to help economic growth and to help achieve the MDGs "Towards the Realization of a Vibrant Africa."
In the political area, we placed emphasis on discussions on non-proliferation and had substantive discussions on North Korea and Iran. With regard to the DPRK, we saw eye to eye that we should get down to tenacious efforts, though the way ahead may be very long, toward the realization of verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Also, I received very encouraging support and expression of support from the leaders of other countries with regard to the importance of advancing Japan-DPRK relations, including on the abduction issue, at the same time. Furthermore, we reaffirmed the G8's commitment with regard to the fight against terrorism and on the challenges of peace and reconstruction, and decided to promote G8 cooperation on Afghanistan and the Middle East Peace Process, amongst others.
With regard to the Zimbabwe situation, after serious discussions the G8 shared grave concerns and came up with a Joint Statement indicating the strong political will of the G8 to help resolve the problem. In addition, I propose that we step up efforts to build global peacebuilding capacity in the three areas of military, police and civilians with a target year of 2010. This was received with concurrence by the leaders. The G8 leaders should lead with the participation of all the countries concerned, the private sector and civil society in addressing the challenges that we face.
I am aware that many members of NGOs are here, especially in this press center. At this Summit we invited leaders of 16 non-G8 countries as well as representatives of five international institutions, in addition to the G8. As the host of this Summit, we also showcased Japan's environmentally-friendly technology and know-how to the world. This Summit has been a fulfilling three days, and I would like, in the end, to express my gratitude to the warm hospitality. The people of Hokkaido have supported the success of this Summit, and I would also like to express my gratitude to all concerned. Thank you very much.
Moderator: Now the floor is open to you for your questions. Those of you designated, please identify yourself by stating your name and affiliation.
Now, this time, MEM has come together on the sharing of the views regarding the importance and urgency of the climate change issue, made in the interests of the future of the planet. I think that is a very important outcome. The expression of a strong political will by the leaders of 16 countries necessarily, I believe, will become strong momentum to promote the UN negotiations. Japan, also building on the outcome this time, shall share a long-term goal with the other G8 countries vis-a-vis emerging countries such as China and India, and shall exercise leadership so that such long-term goals will be adopted in the UN negotiation process.
With regard to rising oil prices, it is important, in the first place, to improve the supply-demand balance. The G8 has come out with an initiative that we will hold a meeting focused on energy efficiency and new technology. Japan shall be hosting the very first meeting of this in the coming autumn. Furthermore, with the view that financial market factors are having a certain major impact on the rising oil prices, we need to analyze actual demand and financial side factors; we need, as well, to share information regarding oil inventory and so on. We also need to get down to further cooperation with authorities, with regard to commodities futures markets. We shall step up our action towards further transparency in the marketplace, as indicated in our document as well.
With regard to food prices, we need to take a consistent and comprehensive response, including immediate and short-term measures, as well as medium- and long-term measures. We decided to establish a G8 Experts Panel in order to ensure steady implementation. Through these efforts we shall respond through cooperation to the oil and food price issues, and we would like to lead to calming of inflation globally.
Moderator: Thank you very much. This concludes the Chairman's press conference.