Con’t from [Archives:1997/50/Law & Diplomacy]

December 15 1997

page 1: Interview with Japanese Official Mr. Seiichiro Noburo, the Director-General of the Middle Eastern and Africa Affairs Bureau at the Foreign Ministry in Japan, has concluded a four-day visit to Yemen. On this occasion, Yemen Times talked to Mr. Noburo on the future of bilateral relations between Yemen and Japan.
Q: What brings to Yemen? A: Yemen is a very important partner for Japan. This is the first chance I have to visit Yemen since I took up my current position at the Foreign Ministry. I think it is my duty to visit this country to exchange views and pave the way for strengthening the relationship between our two countries.
Q: How important is Yemen to Tokyo today? A: Yemen has a strategic position in the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen’s peace and stability affect the peace and stability of the entire region. The economic development of your country can be further improved. Japan, as a fellow Asian partner, likes to extend as much assistance as possible to the economic development of Yemen. In 1996 Japan was the top aid partner of Yemen.
Q: Could you give us your views on the President’s future visit to Japan and the issues to be discussed? A: In my talk with the Foreign Minister, Dr. Abdulkareem Al-Iryani, I mentioned three pillars of Japan’s relationship with Yemen – political dialogue, economic cooperation, and cultural, educational and social exchange including cooperation on the environment. The visit of the your President to Japan is very important. We are now discussing the preparations and the appropriate timing for the visit.
Q: What is the most striking thing that have impressed you so far about Yemen? A: It is the friendliness of the people. I think this is a great asset for this country. Having the largest population in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen has a great manpower. In the future there is a great potential for the people of Yemen.
Q: What is the policy of your government vis a vis the Middle East peace process? A: The peace process which started in Madrid in 1991 is the only possible and credible way for achieving a lasting and just peace in the region. My government is in full support of this peace process. The formula of land for peace is the correct approach. We encourage all parties concerned to make more efforts towards achieving a lasting peace. We also participate very positively and actively in various forums such as the multi-lateral negotiations which cover such areas as water resources, economic development, the environment, the refugees, etc.
Q: Has your government decided to seek a permanent seat on the Security Council and what are the policies or philosophies that guide Japan’s international policy? A: Since Japan has come to shoulder heavy responsibilities not only in the international economy, but also in the peace and stability of the entire world, we would like to play a major role in those areas. Naturally, the UN is the most important and most comprehensive international organization which deals with all elements in the human life. It is very natural that we should like to play a more positive role as a permanent member of the Security Council.
Q: Do you think it will happen? A: Discussions in the UN do not materialize quickly, we hope that by the end of the end of next year, the members of the UN will be able to agree on the enlargement of the Security Council because such an enlargement for both the permanent and non-permanent members is very important to strengthen the work of the Security Council.
Q: What do you expect to achieve from your visit to Yemen? A: We need to strengthen our bilateral relations at all levels. This is most important. When I go back home I’d like to encourage all levels of Japanese people – politicians, businessmen, students, tourists, etc – to visit Yemen.