Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet  
Speeches and Statements by Prime Minister TOP

Joint Press Conference
by the Leaders of Japan and the European Union

4 May 2009

[This is a translation of the Japanese minutes of the press conference. The original statements were made in Japanese and English. As such, the phrasing of the statements made in English may differ from the original.]

1. Opening statements

(1) President Vaclav Klaus, Czech Republic (President of the Council of the European Union)

On behalf of the Government of the Czech Republic, I am very pleased to have convened this "Troika Summit" with Japan. As the President of the European Council, I very much welcome the visit by Prime Minister Taro Aso.

This marks the eighteenth time we have convened the annual Japan-EU Summit Meeting. Our discussions this time were founded upon the results of the previous Summit held in April 2008 and were also based on discussions at the London Summit in April.

We are now at an important juncture in world history. Political and economic changes are taking place, and we were able to hold important discussions with Japan on both.

Japan is one of the EU's most important partners, and I am pleased that we were able to demonstrate this through today's summit.

As Prime Minister Aso indicated, the combined GDP of Japan and the EU amounts to 40% of global GDP. This indicates just how important cooperation among the leaders of both sides is.

Japan and the EU are promoting political dialogue. The EU cooperates with Japan on a broad range of areas, including on its external policies, development assistance, and negotiations on trade liberalisation.

Both sides understand the position of the other and have similar positions on a broad range of issues. Both sides have expressed their interest in further advancing cooperation towards the future.

(2) Prime Minister Taro Aso

Today, I held very profitable discussions with President Klaus of the Czech Republic and President Barroso of the European Commission. I would like to speak about the outcomes of our very wide-ranging discussions today.

First, unified international efforts are necessary to address the outbreak of pandemic influenza. The EU, like others, has been working hard on this issue. We agreed that Japan and the EU would engage in close communication in this area.

As for responses to the economic and financial crisis, we reaffirmed the necessity of coordinated responses by the international community in order expeditiously and steadily to implement the agreements reached at the recent London Summit.

I explained Japan's new economic countermeasures, including the fact that they involve fiscal outlays of approximately USD 150 billion. In addition, Japan and the EU confirmed that they would continue to act in close cooperation.

Regarding climate change, it will be important at COP15 to ensure that the US, China, and all other major emitting countries and economies participate [in the post-2012 framework] in a responsible manner. We discussed that Japan and the EU would continue to cooperate in order to establish an equitable and effective framework beyond 2012.

We also exchanged views on major regional issues, such as the situation in Asia including North Korea, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Middle East Peace Process, Iran, and anti-piracy measures.

Regarding the North Korean situation, we condemned the [recent] missile launch and agreed to continue cooperating towards the resolution of the outstanding issues of concern, such as the nuclear, missile and human rights issues including the abduction issue.

As for Afghanistan and Pakistan, I explained the results of the Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan Group and the Pakistan Donors' Conference held recently in Japan. Japan and the EU also agreed actively to support Afghanistan and Pakistan, regarding the region as a single entity.

These results have been incorporated into the EU-Japan Summit Joint Press Statement to be released. I am pleased to be able to announce such outcomes together with the EU.

I consider Japan and the EU to be strategic partners that, as you are aware, share fundamental values and that can advance various types of cooperation across a broad range of areas.

Based on the results of this Summit, Japan wishes to act in close cooperation with the EU for, and to contribute to the resolution of, major issues facing the international community.

(3) Mr Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission

I express my appreciation to Prime Minister Aso and President Klaus for the successful conclusion of today's meeting. We were able to hold discussions characterised by high quality and openness. Japan is one of the EU's strategic partners and we share important values and principles.

The EU is engaged globally with Japan. Together, we shoulder leadership roles in the world, and we have a responsibility to do so. As two key players in the international community, we intend to continue to take on the financial crisis, the recovery of growth, and growth of the world economy, among other challenges.

The EU has been cooperating with Japan also in the G20 process. And we are working together towards the G8 summit. As for climate change, Japan has been playing a responsible role since the Kyoto Protocol. It is necessary for us to continue to work towards the establishment of a post-2012 framework, and we should not make the current (economic crisis) an excuse for not doing so. The EU and Japan both assume roles in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the World Trade Organisation (WTO) [Doha Development Round negotiations], and in particular, placing priority on development.

There have been advancements in EU-Japan bilateral relations that impact our citizens significantly. These are concrete achievements in, among various areas, research and development, aviation, finance and judicial matters. Moreover, there is latent potential to deepen our close economic relations, and we would like to utilise the frameworks for dialogue that have already been developed.

We also discussed international issues. North Korea should reconsider its recent provocative actions and decisions and should revise its conduct so that it conforms to the UN Security Council Presidential Statement [of 13 April]. As for Pakistan, the Pakistan Donors Conference held in Tokyo and other developments are important, and it is necessary to sustain progress in the efforts being made in this region. With regard to the influenza issue, while we have no intention of understating the risks and the situation is indeed serious, we have undertaken sufficient preparations. We harbour concern but we should not panic. Cooperation with our partners is of course necessary.

Japan is a friend with which the EU is in global engagement and we will continue to reinforce our relations.

2. Q&As

QUESTION: As for efforts to overcome the economic crisis, differences in views between Japan and the EU have sometimes been pointed out, for example, on the mobilisation of fiscal resources. Have these differences now been resolved?

PRIME MINISTER TARO ASO: At the London Summit, Japan and the EU both agreed to undertake sustained fiscal efforts on a necessary scale in order to recover growth. During today's discussions as well, we concurred that we would each implement the agreement made in London in an expeditious manner. Japan and the EU are in agreement that sufficient economic stimuli and disposal of non-performing loans are both important. Therefore, the suggestion that there were differences in views between us is misguided.

PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO: I concur completely with what Prime Minister Aso has just said. There has been agreement in our views of the current situation, our analyses and our assessments. Quite the contrary to your suggestion, in the lead-up to the London Summit, Japan put forth initiatives, in particular concerning loans to the IMF, the EU made an important contribution, and there was good cooperation between us. While it is important to support global demand, the circumstances in which the countries of Europe find themselves also vary. We are interested in sustainability over the medium to long term as well. Since this is an unprecedented crisis, in the short term we will support demand, but we are also interested in the medium term in fiscal sustainability. Appropriate efforts are required, to support demand on the one hand and to ensure the soundness of the economy on the other.

QUESTION: President Klaus, you have a distinct viewpoint regarding climate change. How did discussions at the summit go regarding that issue?

PRESIDENT VACLAV KLAUS: As we took up more than ten themes today, the discussions on climate change were at a general level. As such, they were discussions that I could accept personally.

PRIME MINISTER TARO ASO: Japan and Europe have from an early stage recognised the importance of creating a low-carbon society and we have been leaders in this area. As for the framework beyond 2012, Japan considers it necessary for the US, China, Russia, India, and other major emitters to participate. It is important for Japan and the EU to create an effective framework based on this requirement. We need to act in coordination at COP15 to establish an ambitious, equitable and effective framework.

PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO: The EU's position is both unchanged and clear. This is stated in the Joint Press Statement, and the EU welcomes and is satisfied by what is written there.

PRESIDENT VACLAV KLAUS: My personal viewpoint is that anthropogenic climate change does not exist. At the same time, I support the enhancement of energy efficiency. In this regard there are many things that Japan is capable of doing, and the discussions at the summit were all things that I could accept.

QUESTION: Approximately one month ago, President Obama of the United States delivered a speech here in Prague in which he said the US would seek a world without nuclear weapons. How do Japan and the EU regard this, and what actions will you be taking in concrete terms towards nuclear disarmament?

PRIME MINISTER TARO ASO: Japan is the only country in the world that can carry out the role of conveying through objective facts the horrors which can be caused by nuclear weapons. Japan has been actively advancing nuclear disarmament diplomacy, such as by taking the lead on resolutions at the United Nations [General Assembly] for the total elimination of nuclear weapons every year for the past fifteen years. The Northeast Asian security environment surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly severe, with North Korea's nuclear and missile development and the modernisation by China of its nuclear arsenal, among other issues. Precisely because of this situation, it is necessary to promote nuclear disarmament and strengthen the non-proliferation regime. It is also important to ensure the success of the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. For this reason, Japan has recently made a concrete proposal regarding nuclear disarmament measures by all states holding nuclear weapons, measures for disarmament and non-proliferation by the entire international community, and measures for peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It is necessary to develop unified international efforts, and Japan will host a "2010 Nuclear Disarmament Conference" at an early date next year. Japan will resolutely support concrete efforts by the international community to achieve the goal of a world without nuclear weapons whilst also maintaining global stability.

PRESIDENT VACLAV KLAUS: President Obama delivered his speech only 100 meters away from here. We would like to support the US initiative in a meaningful form. This topic was discussed today in connection with the issues of North Korea and Iran. As for North Korea, the positions of Japan and the EU are similar, as are our assessments of the current situation and our views of future directions. We also held detailed discussions on the situation in Iran.

QUESTION: Can you provide us with any concrete examples of cooperation between Japan and the EU on raising energy efficiency, such as through the use of Japanese technologies?

PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO: One of the outcomes of today's summit was further advancement towards the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of Japan on Cooperation in Science and Technology. This is an important project for both sides and we will continue to move forward on it. Prime Minister Aso overviewed Japanese technology during our discussions on climate change and energy. As for concrete examples of cooperation and the possibility of using Japan's technologies, this is fundamentally something conducted on a commercial basis. But at the public level, we can expect that we will engage in information exchanges and so on. Energy-related cooperation is among the most important areas of cooperation in science and technology.

PRIME MINISTER TARO ASO: For example, Japan has purchased 40 million tons of assigned amount units (carbon credits) from the Czech Republic, and we will extend environmental cooperation [to the Czech Republic] together with this. By renovating thermal power plants using Japanese technology, we can expect Japanese technology to contribute to enhanced energy efficiency.