Saqqaf Holds High-Level Meetings in Japan TOKYO PREPARES TO RECEIVE PRESIDENT SALEH [Archives:1998/37/Front Page]
Mr. Seiichiro Nuburo, Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister of Japan, confirmed the Government of Japan’s welcome to the coming visit of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
In a meeting with Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf, the senior Japanese official emphasized his country’s commitment to consolidating cooperation with Yemen.
Mr. Yasuo Fukuda, leading member of the Foreign Relations committee of the Japanese Parliament and son of the former Prime Minister, told Yemen Times Chief Editor: “We will do everything we can to make the visit of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the accompanying delegation a success. I am sure such a visit will be a milestone in our bilateral relations.” Indeed, many officials in Tokyo are busy these days in preparations for the trip, termed as an official working visit. President Saleh, who plans to arrive in Tokyo in March 1999, will be the first ever Yemeni head of state to visit the Land of the Rising Sun.
Professor Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf, Member of the Consultative Council, is presently on an official visit to Japan for this and other purposes.
At another level, Mr. Kenzo Oshima Director-General of Economic Cooperation at the Foreign Ministry, re-affirmed Japanese commitment to continued grant aid to Yemen. However, Mr. Oshima, who is responsible for the disbursement of some US$ 10 billion Japanese official development assistance (ODA) annually, insisted that Yemeni eligibility for aid is contingent on continued democratization and good governance.
“It is absolutely vital that your country continues political pluralism, respect for human rights, and press freedom. In addition, the announced efforts to curb wide-spread corruption are critical,” he said in a meeting with Saqqaf. Japan’s ODA to Yemen is in the neighborhood of US$ 30 million a year, and goes to finance mainly health, water and other infrastructural project in addition to debt relief. This puts Japan among the top aid partners of Yemen.
Dr. Al-Saqqaf has also met with Mr. Kunio Katakura, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and Mr. Kishiro Amae, Director-General of the Middle Eastern and African Affairs at the Foreign Ministry. He also held meetings with academicians, journalists, and NGO leaders. “The basic purpose of my meetings was to present Yemen’s case and help lay the groundwork for the President’s visit,” he said.