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Remarks by H.E. Mr Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan during His Visit to Mongolia at the Dinner Hosted by H.E. Mr Norov Altanhuyag, Prime Minister of Mongolia

Saturday, March 30, 2013

National State House, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Your Excellency Prime Minister Altanhuyag, thank you very much for your warm words in welcoming me. To the other distinguished guests gathered here tonight, I am delighted to have had the opportunity to meet you.

In both Mongolia and Japan, we have a saying, "A friend in need is a friend indeed." We in Japan have not forgotten the helping hand and the kind consideration that Mongolia extended to us each time after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, the Chuetsu Earthquake, and the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Above all, many Japanese including myself were filled with both surprise and gratitude hearing that when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, Mongolia's civil servants each donated a full day's pay to help Japan. Once again I would like to express our appreciation for your thoughtful consideration. Thank you very much.

I will restate here the three guiding principles we have discussed. From now on, as we go forward expanding our mutual relations, let us always set as the foundation of our relationship the three guiding principles of pursuing "freedom and democracy," "peace," and "mutual help." Japan and Mongolia are partners bound by common values. Let us strengthen our strategic partnership as we go forward, with each of us assisting and complementing the other.
I have learnt that Mongolia has a number of good proverbs.

You should not turn back just because a mountain is high; keep walking, and you will successfully cross over it. You must not flinch from a task simply because it is difficult; you should set about tackling it. Then once you start, keep working at it. You are certain to complete the task in the end.

It is almost as if these are words of wisdom for us politicians confronting the challenges found in democratic countries. Most of all, it seems to be the way of living that Mongolians have been pursuing for more than 20 years already, valuing freedom, placing importance on democracy, and holding human rights and the rule of law in high regard.

In my view, democracy is a structure riddled with flaws. Democracy gives us no shortcuts to reach our goals. It sometimes allows you to take three steps forward, yet oftentimes the next moment it forces you to take two steps back.

And yet, we Japanese have come to realize down to our very core that from a long-term perspective, there is no way superior to democracy.

As someone coming from such a country, there is nothing so encouraging as being able to walk together now with our vigorous partner, Mongolia. Into the future as well, I intend to work to tackle the issues that I myself face in Japan, reassured that very nearby, I have a partner that values freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

In our summit meeting, we discussed three target areas we will strengthen from now on, namely a strategic dialogue in politics and security affairs, economic relations, and people-to-people exchanges.

In naming this "the Erch Initiative," we borrowed the Mongolian word for "vitality." This is because, under one name, we would like to promote various endeavours in order for the Mongolian economy to grow in a sustainable manner and for Japanese investment here to increase still further.

It is not always an easy thing to change our way of living all at once. I think that a rapid influx of foreign human resources, goods, and capital stirs up an instinctive sense of unease. You too are currently engaged in vigorous discussions about the proper course for developing your resources.

That, I think, should make it even more important for Mongolia to build appropriate rules. If those rules are transparent and encompass the rule of law to deal with conflicts, then there is no doubt that your children and your children's children will be able to make good use of the underground treasures that heaven has bestowed upon you.

I believe that once those reliable rules are set in place, there will be more and more Japanese companies wishing to come to Mongolia.

Please make the negotiations to conclude an EPA with Japan an apt opportunity for Mongolia to create the most advanced rules and procedures anywhere worldwide.

Perhaps you will agree that among all the countries that have carried out transitions from socialist economy to capitalist, it is Mongolia that leads the rest in working to place emphasis on freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. And, since no one else has the far-sightedness of vision that Mongolians developed on the wide plains, if you persevere in moving forward without haste, you will most certainly succeed in reaching over the distant horizon. We would like to walk together with just such a prosperous Mongolia.

Well, I may have spoken for too long before our dinner began. Thank you very much for your tremendous hospitality.

Toktoy!   (Kampai!) 

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