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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 27th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Subject: Fukuda, Japan’s Premier, Wants To Pick Up From Where Kyoto Left, and In 2008 To Bring China Into The Fold; but More – Japan Wants To Strengthen Bilateral Relations With The Growing China, and Must Also Compete With China’s Political and Economic Expansion in The Pacific and Africa. This Year’s G8 is a Catalyst. Japan Has A Full Agenda.

Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007

Fukuda to make pitch on energy, environment to Chinese leaders.
Kyodo News

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda plans to make a proposal to top Chinese leaders concerning environmental and energy issues when he goes to Beijing this week, but he isn’t saying what that proposal will be, a government official said.

In an interview with Chinese media prior to his visit that begins Thursday, Fukuda said he also wants to discuss bilateral issues, including the dispute over gas and oil exploration rights in the East China Sea, as well as topics of international concern, such as North Korea’s nuclear threat.

“I believe we must think not only about bilateral cooperation between Japan and China, but also how we can cooperate and be of use in bringing about the stability and advancement of this region and the world, so I want to discuss these things,” Fukuda was quoted by the official as saying.

Fukuda made the remarks in a joint interview with the Tokyo bureau chiefs of China’s official Xinhua News Agency, the state-run China Central Television and the People’s Daily, which is the Communist Party’s newspaper.

Fukuda is scheduled to leave Thursday for the four-day trip. He will meet with President Hu Jintao, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and other leaders, and visit regional sites, including Tianjin and Qufu, the hometown of Confucius.

Regarding climate change, Fukuda said he wants to continue cooperating with China on improving the efficiency of coal thermal power plants, preventing water pollution and building a recycling-oriented economic system, the official said.

Fukuda said such assistance will be made possible using technology, knowledge and experience that Japan has in the fields of energy conservation and environmental improvement.

Fukuda said he hopes to “see and feel” the growth of China by visiting a development zone in Tianjin, which has deep economic relations with Japan.

He said he is looking forward to his first trip to the Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu, a World Heritage site, to look back on the exchanges between Japan and China from ancient times to the present.

“Confucianism has had a big influence on Japan and other countries in Northeast Asia,” the official quoted Fukuda as saying. “In advancing diplomacy, I think we must think about the development of history, culture and bilateral exchanges with the other country.”

Fukuda said China’s rapid economic growth is an opportunity for Japan, and emphasized that the further deepening of economic cooperation between the two countries is important for the healthy advancement of their economies as well as the stability and development of Asia and the world.

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Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007

Japan to open six embassies Jan. 1, 2008.
Kyodo News

Six new Japanese embassies will be opened on New Year’s Day, including in the African nations of Botswana, Malawi and Mali, to strengthen Tokyo’s diplomatic presence internationally as well as bilateral relations with the countries concerned, Foreign Ministry Press Secretary Mitsuo Sakaba said Wednesday.

The new embassies, which will also be established in Micronesia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Lithuania, were approved in the budget for this fiscal year.

They will bring the total number of Japanese embassies worldwide to 123.

Japan, which will take the rotating presidency of the Group of Eight nations next year and host the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, is seeking to open five more embassies in the next year, including another two in Africa.

“We are working toward a goal of having 150 embassies,” Sakaba said.

The new embassies reflect Japan’s eagerness to catch up with other major nations in the number of diplomatic posts around the world amid the aggressive expansion of China’s presence, especially in Africa.

On the new Micronesian embassy, the Foreign Ministry said, “It is important to further strengthen Japan’s relations (with Micronesia) in the international arena amid China’s growing influence on Pacific island nations.”

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