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Transcript of joint doorstop interview with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Japanese Foreign Minister, Mr Nobutaka Machimura: Japan: 22 March 2005.



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E and OE

22 March 2005

Transcript

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Joint Doorstop with Japanese Foreign Minister Mr Nobutaka Machimura - Japan

Machimura: [Spoken in Japanese]

Downer: Thank you very much. I don’t have a lot to add to what my friend and colleague has said, but it’s been a great pleasure for me to spend a day in Tokyo, to meet with the Prime Minister and the MAFF and METI Ministers as well as the Foreign Minister and to talk about the issues that the Foreign Minister has mentioned in his remarks. We hope that we can take forward the trade agenda with Japan

and I think the idea of a feasibility study or a merits and demerits study, as the Japanese formulation, and we think that’s a good way forward and we’re pleased that that idea is getting a positive response here in Tokyo. We don’t want to cause political problems in the agricultural sector in Japan but we do want to take the economic relationship forward and I think this study is a very good way of really examining the issues in looking at how we can expand our economic linkages, so it’s been a good day from our point of view in discussing that issue.

On Iraq we are pleased with the arrangements that have now been put in place between Australia and Japan and I met with the Director-General of the Japanese Defence Agency and we had the opportunity to compare notes and I think the cooperation is developing extremely well between the Australian Defence Force and the Japanese Self Defence Agency.

And finally we appreciate the support of Japan for Australian participation in the East Asian Summit. We’re not sure how it’s all going to

turn out but we appreciate their support and we reiterate our strong support for Japan’s permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council. It would be a great boost to the Security Council to have Japan as a permanent member, we would be delighted to see that happen.

Q. [inaudible]

Downer: Well the Australian troops will be deployed during the course of next month and so there should be a fairly seamless transition between the Dutch troops and the Australian troops and also some British troops who will also be in Al-Muthanna Province to provide the stable security environment there and I think the Australian troops will work very successfully with the Japanese troops. Of courses the Japanese troops are providing an engineering support and humanitarian assistance and our troops will be contributing to a secure environment within which the Japanese troops can work and we will obviously be cooperating with the British and others, but particularly in that area, Al-Muthanna Province, with the British and, I

think, bearing in mind that the Iraqi security forces have increased very substantially in Al-Muthanna Province, now I believe, I think I’m right in saying this, two thousand Iraqi military personnel and about two thousand police. The Iraqis themselves of course have some capability to contribute to security which when the Dutch first went there was not the case so we feel confident that all of us working, together we’ll be able to maintain security in Al-Muthanna Province.

Machimura:[Spoken in Japanese]

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