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

Joint Japan-China Leaders' Press Conference

May 07, 2008

[Opening remarks by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda]

It is my great pleasure today to welcome President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China to Japan as a State Guest. On behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to extend to him a warm and sincere welcome. President Hu and I had an extremely productive and significant meeting a short while ago.

At the start of the meeting, I informed President Hu of my sincere hope that the Beijing Olympics will be a great success this year as the third Summer Games to be held in Asia, and of Japan's intention to cooperate toward its success as a festival of peace.@

At the signing ceremony that followed the meeting, President Hu and I signed a joint statement that will serve as a guideline for our future bilateral relationship. Japan and China, in recognition of the responsibility that we bear in the international community, must work together to create a bright future for Asia, and moreover, a bright future for the world, while constantly deepening mutual understanding and mutual confidence and expanding cooperation of mutual benefit. This is the path that Japan and China must advance on, and I believe that it is our responsibility as leaders to walk the same path and share belief in the overall picture of Japan-China relations, as we make our utmost efforts to resolve issues. This is what President Hu and I agreed at the meeting.

In order to further advance Japan-China relations toward the future, it is extremely important to deepen the mutual understanding between our peoples.

At our meeting today, President Hu and I concurred on the importance of youth exchanges and on the need to improve the transparency of our national policies including those on security. We agreed to deepen our deliberations on various measures such as strengthening dialogue and exchange with a view to improving transparency.

From the standpoint of further promoting cooperation of mutual benefit between Japan and China, we announced a joint statement on the climate change issue that incorporates, among other stipulations, cooperation toward the building of an effective post-2012 framework and our positive evaluation of the sector-based approach. Also, we agreed to hold high-level economic talks in Japan this fall, and to allow Japanese rice to be imported into China on a constant basis.

President Hu kindly proposed that China would lease a giant panda couple to Japan as a symbol of China-Japan friendship. I expressed my gratitude to the President for this offer, which I am sure will be much appreciated by the people of Japan.

In addition, the President and I engaged in wide-ranging discussions covering such subjects as regional cooperation in East Asia, the North Korea issues, and reform of the United Nations Security Council.

We have made significant progress on the issue of development of resources in the East China Sea based on the series of productive bilateral discussions held previously, and we confirmed that the prospect is now in sight of a resolution to this issue, which has been pending for many years. We concurred that we would work out the details further and reach an agreement at the earliest possible stage.

As for the incident of toxic substances being mixed in with frozen dumplings made in China, it is essential for both Japan and China to clarify what actually happened as soon as possible. President Hu said that the Chinese side is further stepping up its investigations, and we agreed that both sides would further intensify their investigations and cooperation.

Moving on to the issue of Tibet, President Hu explained to me that on May 4, the Chinese Government made contact with the Dalai Lama's envoy and held talks. In response, I told the President that I recognize the President's decision and the meeting as being a first step toward full-fledged dialogue. I also requested that the President improve the situation in Tibet and assuage the concerns of the international community through continued dialogue.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Japan-China Peace and Friendship Treaty. I intend to turn this milestone year into a year of development of the Japan-China relationship that will be remembered for many years to come.

During his present stay in Japan, President Hu will also visit Yokohama, Osaka and Nara, where he will have opportunities to experience Japanese culture, history and industry, as well as to have exchanges with people from various circles. I would like to close my remarks by expressing my sincere wish that President Hu will have a fruitful stay in Japan.

That's all from me.

[Opening Remarks by President Hu Jintao]

Hello everybody. I am very glad to meet with all the reporters gathered here today.

To start off, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to His Majesty The Emperor of Japan, Prime Minister Fukuda, and the Government of Japan for their heart-warming hospitality and careful arrangements for this visit. A little earlier, Prime Minister Fukuda and I had a frank and intensive exchange of opinions on bilateral relations and a variety of issues of interest in an open and friendly atmosphere. We came to common understanding on a broad range of subjects.

I said to Prime Minister Fukuda that the peaceful, friendly and cooperative path is the only path that China and Japan can walk together, both as neighbors and as countries that have a significant influence in Asia and in the world.

In addition, we agreed that developing close and friendly relations over the long term is in keeping with the fundamental interests of China, Japan, and their peoples, as well as being of great significance to the peace, stability and prosperity of Asia and the world.

Prime Minister Fukuda and I shared the view that the China-Japan relationship is now poised to enter a new historical era. Taking this new opportunity to develop the relationship further, we agreed that both sides should work on opening up, in all dimensions, a new phase of the mutually beneficial bilateral relationship based on common strategic interests. In order to realize this aim, we will cooperate in the following fields.

Firstly, China and Japan will keep up mutual confidence based on common strategic interests. We will build a mechanism for reciprocal summit visits, and will intensify exchange and strategic dialogue between the governments, parliaments, and political parties of the two countries.

Secondly, China and Japan will enhance cooperation of mutual benefit. We will reinforce our cooperation focusing on the fields of energy, the environment, finance, and information technology, and will strengthen and further develop the mechanism for high-level economic dialogue between the two countries.

Thirdly, China and Japan will expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges. We will build a mechanism for youth exchanges that will be effective over the long term so as to constantly promote mutual understanding and friendly feelings between our peoples, especially the young generations.

Fourthly, China and Japan will drive forward the development of Asia. We will strive together to maintain peace and stability in Northeast Asia and promote regional cooperation in East Asia.

Fifthly, China and Japan will join hands in responding to global challenges. We will work together to make substantial contributions toward resolving global issues such as energy security, environmental preservation, the North-South gap, infectious diseases, and so on.

As Prime Minister Fukuda said just now, China has decided to lease a giant panda couple to Ueno Zoo in Tokyo as a symbol of China's goodwill toward Japan, and to conduct a joint research project.

Our two countries have agreed to issue a fourth political document on the China-Japan relationship. This document sets out a plan for the future bilateral relationship by establishing the guiding principles for its long-term development. Based on the principles contained in the three political documents issued so far, the new document brings together the latest developments in our bilateral relations and the new common understandings between our two countries.

Guided by these landmark documents, I believe we can together open up an even better future for the China-Japan relationship.

Thank you very much for your attention.


Question 1: I would like to address my questions to Prime Minister Fukuda.

The long-awaited Olympic Games are about to begin in Beijing. It will be the first Summer Olympics to be held in Asia for 20 years and is receiving a great deal of support from many Asian countries.

Please tell us, what expectations do you have of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games?

Also, you have just said that Japanese and Chinese national sentiments play an extremely important role in building a strategic relationship of mutual benefit.

Now, what do you think are the most effective ways of promoting positive sentiments in the two countries and of deepening mutual understanding and friendly feelings? And what role should the media play in this context?

PRIME MINISTER FUKUDA: When I recall the time of the Tokyo Olympics 44 years ago, I remember that so many things were happening at that time. The Metropolitan Expressway was completed just about then. It wasn't as extensive as it is today, but a part of it was opened to traffic. Also, the Shinkansen (bullet train) was completed in time for the opening of the Olympic Games. I think that the foundation of today's Japan was laid at that time.

On top of that, I think that the Japanese people, who had seen their economy develop and lives improve as a result of their postwar efforts, felt the real end of the postwar era with the holding of the Olympics. I think it had an extremely large impact on the Japanese people both economically and psychologically.

In this vein, I think that the Olympic Games that are going to be held in China this summer have a similar importance and meaning. So I earnestly hope that China will make it a great success by all means. For that, I would like the Chinese Government as well as the Chinese people to be aware that people from around the world will be gathering in, and looking to, China.

And so my wish is that China will hold the Olympics in a way that people around the world can enjoy and look back on as a truly wonderful Olympics.

Also, given the huge psychological significance a successful Olympics will have for the Chinese people, and believing this will catalyze a sense of pride in their achievement and in their nation, I sincerely wish this Olympics to be one of the great festivities of the century.

You have also asked how we can promote mutual understanding of the Japan-China relationship. I think the nature of the relationship is that trust cannot blossom without understanding between our two countries. This is why I say that Japan and China must understand and trust each other. However, it is not enough that governments and leaders on both sides understand and trust each other. What is essential is that the people who support these governments and leaders understand each other, and build a relationship of mutual trust. To do so, we have to take a variety of approaches.

For example, beginning this year, Japan and China are implementing a four-year youth exchange program involving some 4,000 people each year. And beyond this we are also considering people-to-people exchanges in a variety of fields and at various levels. This year is the Japan-China Youth Friendship Exchange Year, and its opening ceremony will be held tomorrow with President Hu in attendance. Through such exchanges, we would like to build a stable Japan-China relationship that extends into the future.

That being said, it is still vital that politicians build relationships characterized by mutual understanding and trust. Also, it is extremely important that all politicians carry out their role of leading their countries and people in that direction.

Lastly, I would like to answer the question concerning the role of the mass media. I think that in a democratic system, it is crucial that the media report correct things correctly without prejudice. So in this sense, the mass media's role is very important. If reports are biased or contain incorrect content, it may not help us foster mutual understanding or trust.

Question 2: This question is for President Hu. The Chinese Government has resumed a dialogue with the Dalai Lama's envoy. How will China proceed with this dialogue toward a resolution to this issue?

Also, I have heard that both leaders agreed on the promotion of a strategic relationship of mutual benefit between Japan and China. However, the two countries still have pending issues concerning development of resources in the East China Sea, toxic substances being mixed in with frozen dumplings, and so on. I would like to ask what prospect you have of finding solutions to these.

PRESIDENT HU: Just as you said, representatives from Beijing held talks with the personal envoy of the Dalai Lama the other day, and both parties agreed to continue talks as the next step.

China is approaching these talks with a serious and somber attitude, and for our part we hope that the Dalai Lama's envoy will show sincerity in the form of action by suspending all separatist activities in the homeland, stop contriving and agitating violence, stop destroying the Beijing Olympics, and establishing the conditions for the next stage of talks. We expect positive results from our contact.

At the meeting I held earlier with Prime Minister Fukuda, we not only agreed on building a framework for a strategic relationship of mutual benefit between China and Japan, but also on finding resolutions to the specific issues pending between the two countries.

For example, with regard to the issue of development of resources in the East China Sea, in-depth discussions held at the diplomatic level based on the common understanding achieved at bilateral summit talks have made important progress, with an overview of the resolution to the issue already coming in sight. I am happy about this. In this light, we agreed to accelerate the talks and reach an agreement at the earliest possible juncture.

Concerning the issue of toxic substances being mixed in with frozen dumplings, the Chinese Government places a strong emphasis on food safety and on human health.

The Chinese Government has conducted a serious probe into this incident. Concerning the state of the investigation, the department in charge has already communicated sufficiently with the Japanese side.

As for the next step, the relevant departments of both countries will continue with the investigation, strengthening their cooperation so as to uncover the whole truth about the incident as soon as possible.

Thank you very much.

Question 3: I have a question for President Hu. Both Japan and China are important countries in Asia. Now, there are people who say that Japan and China are rivals in Asia. What do you think of cooperation between Japan and China in Asia?

PRESIDENT HU: To repeat what I said the other day to Japanese reporters in Beijing, China and Japan are close neighbors separated only by a narrow strip of water, and the two peoples enjoyed friendly exchanges for more than 2,000 years in the past. The friendship between China and Japan is widely supported and cherished by the peoples of both countries. A solid foundation is in place for developing the China-Japan relationship and friendship. As has been proved already, advancing a stable, long-term bilateral relationship of goodwill is in keeping with the fundamental interests of our two countries and peoples, and also helps promoting the peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia Pacific region and the world at large.

Both China and Japan are important countries in Asia and bear a huge responsibility with regard to the peace and development of Asia. Therefore, they should cooperate and build a strategic relationship of mutual benefit in all fields, and moreover, I think both sides are perfectly capable of doing so.

Our two countries should understand each other as playing a constructive role in both international and regional contexts, and show support and strengthen strategic cooperation in that regard. They should thus work toward Asia's advancement together, and tackle global challenges together.

China will work with Japan toward the peace and stability of Northeast Asia, advancing the Six-Party Talks process together and building a mechanism for peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

Furthermore, China will step up communication and coordination with Japan regarding East Asian cooperation. We will steadily promote cooperation mechanisms such as ASEAN+3, capitalizing on their respective merits, so as to keep driving regional cooperation in East Asia on to the next stage.

Together with Japan, China will promote exchanges with other Asian countries in a variety of fields including culture, tourism, youth exchange, and human resources development by making full use of the various regional mechanisms for cooperation, and will keep up efforts to bolster mutual understanding and trust between Asian countries and peoples.

Thank you very much.

Question 4: I have some questions for Prime Minister Fukuda. First, going back to your opening statement, how did you take President Hu's explanation on Tibet at today's meeting, and what did you say to him in response? Also, what are you planning to do with regard to the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games?

Additionally, concerning the pending issues such as development of resources in the East China Sea and toxic substances being mixed in with dumplings, you have expressed the intention to resolve these issues as soon as possible. So could you tell us about your thinking concerning the future prospects and the timeframe for resolution?

Also, on the climate change issue, I would like to ask you about the prospects for the building of a post-Kyoto framework, including the discussions with President Hu on the sector-based approach that Japan is proposing.

PRIME MINISTER FUKUDA: My answer to your questions is as I mentioned a little earlier: a means of dealing with such issues is precisely what we intend in building a strategic relationship of mutual benefit. So we will come to a resolution based on that relationship, which I believe should help us resolve the pending issues. To bring about this, it is essential for us to have frank talks. In this context, too, I believe that having a long meeting with President Hu today was of great significance.

I would like to give individual answers to each of your points. With regard to the Tibet situation, I highly evaluate both President Hu's decision to embrace dialogue and the fact that the talks actually took place this time. Also, I strongly hope that this dialogue will be conducted patiently so as to help improve the situation and dispel the international community's concerns. Therefore I would like to see this dialogue proceed in that direction.

Concerning the question of whether or not I will be personally attending the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, when I think about it, this is still a little way in the future. I will consider this positively if the situation permits. In any case, I earnestly hope that this year's Olympics will be an event that is celebrated all over the world.

Moving on to the East China Sea issue, we have confirmed major progress today based on constructive discussions. I can clearly state that the prospect is now in sight for a resolution to this issue, which has been pending for many years. What remains is that we work on the details and try to reach an agreement at the earliest juncture. As for how soon, you may want to know whether this means one or two months, but I think it would be better not to make any statement at this stage.

As for the issue of toxic substances being mixed in with frozen dumplings, given that the Chinese side is expanding the effort, I think both sides should further step up their investigations and cooperation.

On the issue of climate change, President Hu expressed a positive evaluation of the sector-based approach as being an important instrument for cutting emissions. We will further examine the roles of Japan and China in this regard. At the moment, we are aiming to construct an effective framework in which all major emitters participate in a responsible manner.

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