JapanGov Weekly

Monday, August 14, 2017

Inauguration of the Third Reshuffled Third Abe Cabinet

Cabinet Secretariat, Thursday, August 3, 2017

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshuffled the Cabinet for the third time since inaugurating the Third Abe Cabinet.

After collecting letters of resignation at an extraordinary Cabinet meeting, a leaders’ meeting of the ruling parties was held with Chief Representative Natsuo Yamaguchi of Komeito. Following this, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced the list of Cabinet members. Furthermore, the attestation ceremony for newly appointed Ministers of State was held at the Imperial Palace, marking the official inauguration of the third reshuffled Third Abe Cabinet.

Later, Prime Minister Abe held a press conference on the Cabinet reshuffle. Afterwards, the Prime Minister convened the first Cabinet meeting, and then held a commemorative photograph session.


The Prime Minister Attends the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony and Other Events

Cabinet Secretariat, Sunday, August 6, 2017

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the annual Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony held in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima City.

Approximately 50,000 people including atomic bomb survivors and bereaved family members, as well as representatives of 80 nations, the European Union, and international organizations such as the United Nations attended the ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing.

Mr. Kazumi Matsui, Mayor of Hiroshima City, and the representatives of the bereaved family members added the names of atomic bomb victims whose passing was confirmed in the past year to the cenotaph, and Prime Minister Abe, the representatives of the bereaved family members and the atomic bomb victims offered flowers. Afterwards, the Peace Bell was rung at 8:15 a.m., the time when the atomic bomb was dropped, and all the participants offered a minute of silent prayer.

Next, after Mayor Matsui offered a Peace Declaration and two child representatives recited the Promise for Peace, Prime Minister Abe delivered an address.

After the ceremony, the Prime Minister moved to a hotel in Hiroshima City and attended a meeting to listen to requests from representatives of atomic bomb survivors. After receiving requests from the representatives of seven groups of atomic bomb survivors, he held a press conference.


Japan-Cambodia Summit Meeting and Other Events

Cabinet Secretariat, Monday, August 7, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hosted a summit meeting and other events with Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, at Akasaka Palace State Guest House.

The two leaders attended a salute and guard of honor ceremony, followed by a summit meeting. Thereafter, the leaders held a signing ceremony and a joint press announcement.

Finally, the Prime Minister hosted a banquet, and said in his address,

“I would like to again offer my heartfelt welcome to Prime Minister Hun Sen on his visit to Japan. Prime Minister Hun Sen has long been a close friend of Japan, and this is in fact his 21st visit to our country. The Prime Minister celebrated his birthday just two days ago, and I hope you will all join me in congratulating him.

The relationship between our two countries goes back to the beginning of the 17th century, when kabocha squashes arrived in Japan from Cambodia. In recent years, peace in Cambodia represents the strong bond between our two countries. Incidentally, this very State Guest House was the venue of the ‘Tokyo Meeting on Cambodia,’ which was also attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen in June 1990. Under the excellent leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen over the 27 years since the Tokyo Meeting, Cambodia has achieved remarkable peace, reconstruction, and development. Cambodia is now a strategic partner for Japan, having dispatched over 4,000 personnel in total for peacekeeping operations (PKO) in eight countries, including Sudan, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Mali.

In the area of people-to-people exchanges, the number of people making trips between our two countries has increased to the scale of 200,000 people per year. A direct flight service between Japan and Cambodia was launched in last September, and Japan will open a consular office in Siem Reap in January of next year. I expect that these developments will further revitalize our people-to-people exchanges.

Angkor Wat is very popular among Japanese people. I wish to extend my congratulations to you on the inscription of Sambor Prei Kuk on the World Heritage List this year. I believe even more Japanese people will be visiting Cambodia which is home to numerous attractive cultural heritages.

We have invited to today’s banquet leaders from all circles who have supported the relationship between Cambodia and Japan that have deepened cooperation in a range of areas, including politics, security, economy, culture, education, sports, and medicine. Thanks to all of your efforts, the friendly relationship between our two countries is what it is today. I would like to take this opportunity to again express my appreciation and ask for your continued cooperation.

As I introduced moments ago, Cambodia was the first country to which Japan sent PKO units. A young girl at that time saw how hard the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) were working for Cambodia’s nation building and was inspired to also dedicate herself to achieving world peace in the future. She went on to assume the role of maintaining security as a member of the PKO unit in South Sudan and engaged in work to protect the activities of the SDF.

Japan’s will to plant the seeds of peace is now shared by Cambodia. I hope that Japan and Cambodia will continue to cooperate and exert every effort for regional peace and stability.

In closing, I would like to raise a toast for the continued success of Prime Minister Hun Sen as well as everyone else in attendance today.”


Courtesy Call from the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services of Myanmar and Others

Cabinet Secretariat, Friday, August 4, 2017

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received a courtesy call from Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, and others at the Prime Minister’s Office.


The Tenth Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

Foreign Affairs, Sunday, August 6, 2017

 On Sunday, August 6, commencing at around 7:05 p.m. (local time) for approximately 45 minutes, Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, attended the Tenth Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Manila, the Philippines, serving as chair. The overview of the meeting is as follows (The attendees from the Mekong region countries consisted of H.E. Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People's Democratic Republic; H.E. Mr. Prak Sokhonn, Senior Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia; H.E. Mr. Kyaw Tin, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar; H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand; and H.E. Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam).

1. Opening Remarks

 Minister Kono expressed his pleasure that the Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is commemorating its 10th anniversary. He noted that Japan has consistently provided assistance to both “hard” infrastructure development and “soft.” He also noted that since the adoption of the New Tokyo Strategy 2015 for Mekong-Japan Cooperation (MJC2015), Japan has promoted assistance to strengthen connectivity and realize a Green Mekong. Minister Kono stated that at this meeting he hoped to look back on the outcomes of the last ten years and to engage in discussions on further challenges relating to connectivity.

2. Japan-Mekong Cooperation

(1)Minister Kono made the following remarks on progress in Japan-Mekong cooperation.
i. Over the course of the last ten years the Mekong region has experienced major growth. During the same period Japan has implemented various assistance, such as the development of quality infrastructure, the introduction of export-related facilities, including electronic customs procedures, human resources development, and the development of the East-West Economic Corridor between Thilawa in Myanmar and Pakse in Lao PDR. The implementation of both “hard” and “soft” initiatives has strengthened connectivity in the Mekong region and contributed to the acceleration of growth. Economic exchanges between Japan and the Mekong region have also been invigorated and there is a high degree of interest in the Mekong region among Japanese companies. Japan will make concerted public and private-sector efforts to further advance development in the region. People-to-people exchanges are also very active and through such initiatives as the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS) and the WA Project, Japan hopes to further deepen people-to-people connectivity.
ii. The New Tokyo Strategy 2015 is now in its second year and Japan highly values that many projects have been implemented smoothly. Last year the National Road No. 5 improvement project has been impemented. This road forms a part of the Southern Economic Corridor between Cambodia and Thailand. In addition, the North-South Expressway construction project in Viet Nam has been implemented, and a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand on Industrial Human Resources Development in Thailand has been concluded. These developments demonstrate that initiatives in both “hard” and “soft” areas are being developed, which help strengthen intra-regional connectivity.
iii. The Senior-Level Working Groups Meeting (SLWG), launched in order to realize the Japan-Mekong Connectivity Initiative, has specified ODA projects for priority implementation. To achieve “vibrant and effective connectivity,” it is necessary to respond to various challenges in terms of “soft” infrastructure, such as facilitating and enhancing the efficiency of customs procedures, including single-window procedures, and developing human resources who will be involved in the maintenance and management of infrastructure. Japan proposes to hold a workshop in September this year to which experts from the five Mekong countries will be invited, in order to deepen compatibility and mutual understanding among national customs systems.
iv. Utilizing the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) that was announced at the first Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in 2008, assistance to improve distribution and logistics efficiency along the East-West Economic Corridor and Southern Economic Corridor has now reached the final phase and Japan will be ending its assistance to this project in the near term. In addition, in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank, Japan is currently developing the Mawlamyine to Kawkareik section of the East-West Economic Corridor, which has become a bottleneck. Japan seeks to contribute to improving logistics efficiency.

(2)In response, the Ministers of the Mekong countries welcomed the appointment of Minister Kono as Minister for Foreign Affairs and his attendance at the meeting in the commemorative tenth anniversary year of Japan-Mekong cooperation, noting that Minister Kono is a member of the Mekong family. Ministers expressed appreciation for the assistance that Japan has provided over the course of 10 years that has enabled the societies and economies of the Mekong region to achieve remarkable development and noted that in addition to steadily implementing existing projects, they would work with Japan on various challenges in order to take Japan-Mekong cooperation to the next phase.

3. Regional and International Situations

(1) Minister Kono stated that the peace and stability of the Mekong region is extremely important for the region as a whole and from this perspective he welcomed the promulgation of the new constitution in Thailand and the peaceful and smooth implementation of local elections in Cambodia. He noted that in order to realize national reconciliation in Myanmar, the Government of Japan will continue to actively advance reconstruction assistance in ethnic minority regions.

(2) With regard to the issue of North Korea, Minister Kono stated that North Korea posed a grave and real threat to the countries assembled at the meeting and that it is necessary to strengthen effective pressure on North Korea. He also expressed the hope that the Mekong countries would demonstrate understanding and cooperation towards the prompt resolution of the abductions issue.

(3) In response, the ministers of the Mekong countries noted the importance of resolving regional disputes by peaceful means and realizing harmony and stability within the region.


Prime Minister’s Award Ceremony

Cabinet Secretariat, Friday, August 4, 2017

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended a ceremony for the Prime Minister’s Award at the Prime Minister’s Office, where he presented a certificate of award to Mr. Takuma Sato, a professional racing driver.