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Japan and Australia: Toward a Creative Partnership

Junichiro Koizumi (whitehouse.gov)

Junichiro Koizumi (whitehouse.gov)


In East Asia, we should give considerations to the diversity in the region and uniqueness of other countries. Furthermore, in promoting cooperation and joint regional initiatives, we should respect the existing regional cooperation frameworks. We should avoid foisting our values on our neighbors. Australia embraces a considerable diversity in its own territory and, having overcome difficulties arising from such diversity, is building a multicultural nation. Australia's understanding of diversity can help strengthen cooperation throughout our region.

Japan and Australia have been core members of APEC since its creation and we need to continue our cooperation in the framework of APEC.

We can work together globally on the basis of our shared values. Terrorism poses the most serious threat to democracy and the rule of law. We share the common objective of fighting the madness of terrorism. Japan has dispatched Maritime Self Defense ships to the Indian Ocean. Australia has deployed vessels and special forces to Afghanistan. I have been told of Sergeant Andrew Robert Russell who lost his life in Afghanistan. We wish to express our deepest condolences to Sergeant Russell's family. I would also like to pay my most heartfelt tribute to the numerous contributions Australia has made for international peace and security. International solidarity is of vital importance in fighting terrorism. In light of this importance, Prime Minister Howard and I agreed that our two nations need to consult on counter terrorism measures.

Since the end of the Cold War, regional conflicts arising from religious and ethnic causes have been rampant the world over. The international society has been engaged in peacekeeping operations designed to consolidate peace and build basic foundations in countries suffering from such conflicts. The Government of Japan will consider how to increase our international role by providing an added pillar for the consolidation of peace and nation building. We hope to cooperate with Australia, which has expertise and experience in this area.

In trying to achieve the goal of a free market economy, we must expand and improve the multilateral free trade system. Trade is the benefactor of nations. For this purpose, Japan would like to closely cooperate with Australia for the success of the new round of WTO negotiations. I believe that our two countries can find common positions on trade liberalization as well as improvement, strengthening and extension of WTO rules.

Global environmental protection is becoming increasingly urgent. In the run-up to the Johannesburg Summit, Japan is proposing an idea of "Global Sharing," in which, each country shares strategy, responsibility and experiences. I hope that Japan and Australia can work together and make positive contributions to the success of the summit. The early ratification of the Kyoto Protocol would be an important step forward to strengthen international efforts. Implementing the commitment in the protocol is not easy for Japan which has already achieved the highest level of energy efficiency. Nevertheless, I am determined to ratify the protocol with the approval of the Diet in the current session. I strongly hope that Australia will move forward to ratify the protocol with us.

In conclusion, I would like to mention an element that I respect in the character of the Australian people. During the Second World War, the Australian Navy held a navy-style funeral for Japanese soldiers who infiltrated Sydney Harbour in midget submarines. Rear-Admiral Muirhead-Gould, who was in charge of the funeral, said, "However horrible war and its results may be, it is a courage which is recognised and universally admired. These men were patriots of the highest order." The coffins of the soldiers were wrapped in Japanese flag and their ashes were sent back to their home country. From the bottom of my heart, let me say that I sincerely respect the Australian people's generosity and fair spirit--even toward enemies in time of war.

There is an epilogue to this. 22 years later, the mother of the late commander Matsuo, one of the soldiers who died, visited Australia to express her appreciation and to console the spirit of her son here in Sydney Bay. The people of Australia, including then-Prime Minister Gorton, warmly and generously welcomed her, saying, "The mother of the brave has come."

I also admire the enthusiasm and forward-looking outlook with which they face the future. It is said that the kangaroo and the emu, two animals depicted in Australia's national emblem known for always moving forward and never retreating, symbolize the character of the Australian people. With such characteristics, the people in Australia have succeeded in a series of reforms that have build the Australia that stands today.

With the same forward-looking spirit, Prime Minister Howard and I agreed to construct a "Creative Partnership." As we begin this new century, I sincerely believe that we can increase our cooperation in a spirit that strengthens our friendship and embraces the future.

Thank you very much.