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Japan-EU Joint Press Conference
April 24, 2006
PRIME MINISTER JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI: Today we held a meeting, my sixth Japan-EU Summit, with the presence of Mr. Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, and Dr. Wolfgang Schussel, the Federal Chancellor of Austria and President of the European Council. Japan and the European Union (EU) share fundamental values and are responsible partners in the international community.
Based on my experience, I shared with Chancellor Schussel and President Barroso the three important points in Japan-EU relations.
First, visible cooperation: the signing of an agreement in the area of nuclear energy as well as an agreement in principle in the area of customs. I would like to welcome them as moves to reinforce our cooperation in the respective areas.
Secondly, the importance of strategic dialogues. I would like to further enhance our strategic dialogue.
Thirdly, people-to-people exchanges. Based on the 2005 EU-Japan Year of People-to-People Exchanges, I would like to further expand the exchanges between people.
Especially concerning the youth of Japan and the EU, Japan would like to accept 4,000 young people from the EU as its yearly goal.
Regarding international political issues, we shared the view that the declaration by Iran to acquire uranium enrichment technology is deeply regrettable, as it defies the Presidential Statement of the United Nations (UN) Security Council. We also shared the view to promote close cooperation from here on toward the diplomatic solution of this issue.
Concerning the issue of Iraq, the Iraqi National Assembly elected the President, the Prime Minister, and other officials on April 22. I believe this is an important step forward for forming a new government, representing the efforts of the Iraqi people to build their own government on their own. I expect an early establishment of a stable new government, and concurrently, Japan and the EU intend to continue cooperating as much as possible in creating a stable government in Iraq and in extending reconstruction assistance.
In terms of economy, Japan is continuing its structural reform. We confirmed that each of us will strive to improve the environment for investment promotion. I welcome the progress in the Social Security Agreements and negotiations on the Tax Treaties between Japan and EU Member States. I also hope to create stronger cooperative relations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations.
Japan and the EU have been committed to tackling global issues in particular and will continue to address these issues. There are challenges in various areas on which we must cooperate, such as the global environment, energy, infectious diseases, and the protection of intellectual property rights, and we have agreed to further continue our dialogue and cooperation.
FEDERAL CHANCELLOR WOLFGANG SCHUSSEL OF AUSTRIA: Prime Minister Koizumi has attended now his sixth summit between Japan and the EU so I can say he is probably the most experienced leader in European affairs and global issues to be dealt with by Europe.
Not all the European leaders can say that they have already attended six summits with Japan. I can conclude that it was an extremely positive summit. It took place in an atmosphere of mutual respect, friendship, and a curiosity to learn from each other. There is a Japanese saying, "There are no national frontiers to learning." This was exactly the way we discussed the relevant, important, and sometimes difficult issues.
In our talks we took it to two important topics; first is security in a broad sense for our peoples, and second how to strengthen our economic partnership.
In security we discussed various areas such as infectious diseases, HIV, avian influenza, etc., and that we need more information sharing and effective containment of the diseases.
Second in this context was personal security, implementing counter-terrorism conventions, information sharing, and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. In this context we discussed intensively the question of Iran, and we have the same feeling, the same strategy; how to contain the proliferation of nuclear weapons, how to give Iran the right to use nuclear energy in a peaceful way but not to enrich uranium in a way which could lead, and will probably lead, to nuclear power.
Then we discussed energy security, which is probably one of the burning issues of the future in the next decade.
On the part of foreign policymaking, do not forget that most problematic regions and most conflicts are related to energy problems and energy producing regions. Energy efficiency is one of the highest priorities in the world such as environmental challenges and renewable resources.
We informed Prime Minister Koizumi that both sides, Japan perhaps is a little bit more advanced, are together now in implementing a new strategy in our environmental policy. We could and we can cooperate in this aspect.
Of course, we also discussed the matters of Iraq such as supporting the elected institutions, supporting the people, and supporting those Iraqis who want to stand on their own feet. We also discussed the Middle East Peace Process.
On economic partnership, do not forget that both regions, Japan and the EU, we are among the three strongest economic powers in the world. Only America can compete, and it is a little bit far ahead, but together we can do a lot. On economic partnership I am sure the president of the commission can say and go into more details.
PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO OF THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL: First of all let me join Chancellor Schussel in saying that we very much appreciate working with Prime Minster Koizumi and we are grateful for his personal contribution to the enhancement of the EU-Japan relations.
As Prime Minister Koizumi said, we share the same values: freedom, democracy, and a commitment to multilateral solutions. Not only do we share the same values, but we share also some problems and challenges. We are feeling the impact of globalization in competition with some other parts of the world, our societies are ageing societies, and we are facing the challenges of climate change, which is a matter where we are closely cooperating. Japan and the EU are very committed to sustainable development and the protection of the environment.
So if we share the same problems and challenges and if we share the same values, we should be more together.
One of the sectors where we are already doing a lot but we can do more is precisely in our economic relations. Together, Japan and the European member states represent 40 percent of the world economy.
This shows how important our economic relation is. And now, thanks to the reforms made by the Japanese Government I think we can say that the prospects are even better for an intense economic relation.
Japan is back; Japan is showing very important signals of economic progress. So I believe that it is more important than ever that through our regulatory dialogue, we remove all obstacles that can exist to foreign investment on both sides so that our companies can work closely, not only big companies but also small and medium companies that may be interested in the market in Japan, or Japanese companies that may be interested in the market in the EU.
I am very grateful for the support of Prime Minister Koizumi to this commitment and we very much hope to work deeper with Japan in this direction, to promote investment, to promote trade, and also to tackle all the other issues that Prime Minister Koizumi and Chancellor Schussel already mentioned and of course I will not repeat.
[Q & A]
QUESTION1: I would like to ask Prime Minister Koizumi a question about security issues. You said that Japan and the EU had agreed at today's meeting to cooperate closely concerning the issue of Iran's nuclear development. What form do you think this cooperation may take?
In addition, the EU's lifting of its arms embargo on China also has security implications for Japan. What kinds of discussions have taken place with regard to this issue?
PRIME MINISTER KOIZUMI: Concerning the issue of Iran, we have agreed to cooperate with each other aiming at reaching a diplomatic solution. At the same time, we also shared a common understanding that this issue is quite difficult.
In particular, although I am aware that the response varies among P5 nations, United States, Russia, and China, as well as among the G8 nations, Japan highly appreciates the EU's efforts on this issue. I believe that Japan and the EU confirmed the common understanding to continue to aim for a peaceful and diplomatic solution on this issue.
Moreover, with respect to the issue of China, I have expressed my concerns about the lifting of the arms embargo. I am sure that the EU also fully understands these issues.
QUESTION2: Chancellor Schussel, Europe wants a better investment climate in Japan, what can Europe offer in return to Japan? You are talking in general about economic cooperation but what can Europe offer?
CHANCELLOR SCHUSSEL: First of all, you should have the figures in mind. These figures for foreign investment and trade in both directions are impressive. If you look to foreign direct investment, Europe until now invests per year more than 5 billion US dollars and Japan even more than Europe. There is no region in the world where Japan invests in more than Europe.
This evening we got a strong commitment from Prime Minister Koizumi that he will try to change the impression that foreign investment is a danger, is a threat. Just to raise a good example, in Portugal or some other European countries if you can attract foreign direct investment this is a big advantage for your competitiveness. So what we have in mind is to improve and to encourage on both sides mutual investment.
Second, the trade on both sides exceeds around 150 billion euros per year in both directions. This is an impressive figure in favor of Japan, but we are trying hard to balance this sooner or later, but anyway this is not a problem, this is a big advantage. What we discussed today is to remove bureaucratic obstacles, to establish a framework for business people, to move freely, to have helping hands, one stop shop for investors for instance, and to remove bureaucratic regulations. And of course giving people good flight connections and offering tourism as one of the great motors of economic development, this is one of the priorities of Prime Minister Koizumi here in Japan, in addition to exchanges between the young generation of students in high schools and universities.
We also have some important cooperation by the scientific community in mind, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project is one of the good examples of good cooperation between Japan and Europe. I think there are a lot of visible results of this summit in sight.
QUESTION3: In the past 50 years the European integration has made a huge progress whereas integration in East Asia is still in its first steps, so I would like to ask Mr. Barroso what kind of advice can the EU give to Japan in order to accelerate integration of East Asia.
And also, if I may ask the same question to Prime Minister Koizumi, what kind of lessons can Japan take from the European integration process? Thank you.
PRESIDENT BARROSO: First of all we do not want to give lessons to anybody. We respect of course the specificities of all the situations and of course each case is a different one.
Having said this, I want to be clear that the EU and European integration has been a great success. Next year we are going to commemorate 50 years of the Treaty of Rome where we will think about what we have achieved over all these years. The European Community (EC) was born precisely after the war as reconciliation between former enemies. And putting together our economies and creating an internal market was started with six countries, but now we are 25 countries and very soon we will be 27 with around 500 million people. This was possible because we had a political vision, a vision based on peace. It was also possible to go on removing obstacles to trade and to establish progressively an internal market for services, for capital, for goods, and of course for people.
So I think the European experience deserves to be studied, but that is of course up to the different countries and the different regions in the world to see and to learn from each other's experience.
PRIME MINISTER KOIZUMI: Concerning East Asian community, I think there are many points we should learn from the EU that will come up in the future. But looking back, about 40 years ago when we were still young students, I remember the discussions going on about the EC. At that time, I certainly did not imagine that the present EU would be realized. Today, there is even a new currency called the euro in use.
When we consider the East Asian situation from this perspective, although I know there are many people who take the pessimistic view that an East Asian community is impossible to realize, the sense of community among the members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries has progressed well. Also, regular discussions among the ASEAN+3 (Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea) countries are taking place every year. Last year, participants to the East Asia Summit agreed to pursue close cooperation in view of forming a future community, or an East Asian community. So while there is a pessimistic view at the moment, actually what was considered impossible to realize 40 or 30 years ago has been realized in today's EU. When we think about this, I think it is extremely significant that despite the current difficulties, we are engaging in close cooperation while looking ahead towards an East Asian community.