Japan-U.S. Relations


Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministerial Meeting (Summary)

September 7, 2007


Japanese Foreign Minister Machimura, who was visiting Sydney , Australia , to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting, held a meeting for about 45 minutes with Secretary of State Rice on September 7.


1. Japan-U.S. Relationship


(1) Overall

Both sides reconfirmed the personal relationship of trust that they had established through their close exchanges of views, including their monthly consultations, during Foreign Minister Machimura's previous appointment as Foreign Minister (September 2004 through October 2005). They also confirmed that the Japan-U.S. alliance was the cornerstone of peace and stability in East Asia .


(2) Security

  • a.) Foreign Minister Machimura stated that it was important to steadily implement the realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan , including the return and relocation of Futenma Air Station, based on the "Roadmap" agreed on in May 2006.


  • b.) On the civil-military dual-use of Yokota Air Base, Foreign Minister Machimura mentioned that the whole Japanese Government would like to accomplish this and asked for the support of the Department of State. Secretary Rice stated that the United States would like to discuss this issue based on a report scheduled for this October.


  • c.) In addition, with regard to the protection of classified information, Foreign Minister Machimura stated that he recognized the need for the Japanese government to tackle this problem not just as an individual case but also as a systematic issue. Secretary Rice expressed her gratitude for Japan ’s efforts on this issue.


(3) Economic Relationship

Secretary Rice expressed a strong interest in Japan ’s resumption of U.S. beef imports. Foreign Minister Machimura responded that he was well aware of the U.S. request, that the Japanese Government intends to address this issue in accordance with scientific knowledge based on the fundamental principle of ensuring food safety for the Japanese people, and that the ministers in charge would continue to consult on this issue with their U.S. counterparts.


2. North Korea


(1) The Working Group for the Normalization of Japan-DPRK relations

Foreign Minister Machimura explained that the atmosphere of the recently held second session of the Working Group was better than that of the previous one, but stated that, regarding the substance of the meeting, further discussions were needed to discern North Korea ’s future response. Secretary Rice expressed her hope that such consultations would continue. Foreign Minister Machimura explained that in order to advance Japan-North Korean consultations, both the abduction issue and the settlement of "unfortunate past" needed to be addressed. Secretary Rice responded that it was essential that Japan-North Korea consultations would advance, and the Six- Party Talks as a whole would proceed in balance.


(2) The Six-Party Talks

Both sides agreed that in order to advance the process toward denuclearization, Japan and the United States would continue to cooperate so that the "complete declaration" and the "disablement" that was agreed to in the previous U.S.-North Korea Working Group would become a common agreement of the six parties.


(3) Japan-U.S. Cooperation

Foreign Minister Machimura expressed his appreciation for the U.S. statement that the United States will not sacrifice Japan-U.S. relations to advance U.S.-North Korean relations" and said that bearing in mind the issue of removing North Korea from the list of countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism, he wished to extend the cooperation into the future.


(4) Secretary Rice explained that nuclear technology specialists from the United States , China and Russia were scheduled to visit North Korea from September 11-15.


3. Iraq


Foreign Minister Machimura expressed Japan ’s understanding and support for the U.S. efforts on the reconstruction of Iraq , stating that Japan would continue its support to the extent possible including air lift support by the Japanese Air Self-Defense Forces and Official Development Assistance (ODA). Secretary Rice expressed gratitude for Japan 's contributions.


Secretary Rice, who recently visited Anbar Province, Iraq with President Bush, said that it was an area that had previously been in such a bad safety situation that they could not have visited, but that, in a part of the region, public safety had been improved, and that the United States would continue its efforts for the recovery of public safety in Iraq and the reconstruction of Iraq.


4. Fight Against Terrorism


Foreign Minister Machimura stated that it was by all means necessary to continue the refueling activities by Japan 's Maritime Self-Defense Forces in the Indian Ocean , and that he would make his best effort to convince the opposition parties.


Secretary Rice expressed appreciation for Japan ’s actions to date. Secretary Rice said that these actions were indispensable to the international community's fight against terrorism and hoped the activities would continue.


5. Nuclear Issue with Iran


Foreign Minister Machimura expressed concern over the continuing uranium enrichment activities by Iran, saying it was important that the international community pressured Iran concertedly to take measures in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and that while Japan was prepared to work toward Iran through its own channels, the international community must persistently endeavor to realize unanimous adoption of a Security Council resolution. Secretary Rice responded that she was greatly concerned about Iran 's nuclear development and that the international community must respond as one while Japan and the United States continue their cooperation.


6. Climate Change


Foreign Minister Machimura mentioned his explanation, during the APEC ministerial meeting, of Prime Minister Abe's "Cool Earth 50" proposal and stated that it was important to establish a flexible and diverse international framework that included all major emitters and would lead to global emissions reduction.


Secretary Rice highly praised Prime Minister Abe's initiative, and went on to say that President Bush emphasized the importance of the Major Economies Meeting hosted by the United States late September, and that it was important that the developing countries as well as the developed countries be included in dealing with climate change issues. Both sides agreed to work toward the Major Economies Meeting in late September and the Conference of Parties (COP) 13 in Bali in December.


7. UN Security Council Reform


Both sides agreed to continue cooperation on UN Security Council reform.


8. Doha Round


Secretary Rice said that they could not afford to let the WTO Doha Round negotiations fail, to which Foreign Minister Machimura responded that this fall would be a decisively important period, and that all of the WTO members needed to exercise their maximum flexibility to achieve a comprehensive, overall and balanced agreement.





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