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Monthly News for December, 2002

January 7, 2003

December 2 (from Indonesia)
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security Affairs, meets with LDP Secretary-General YAMASAKI Taku
Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security Affairs, met with LDP Secretary-General Yamasaki at LDP Headquarters on December 2nd. Mr. Yudhoyono was in Japan to attend the Preparatory Conference on Peace and Reconstruction in Aceh.
Aceh Province is located on the far west edge of the Indonesian archipelago. It has been wracked by armed conflict between separatist rebels and government military forces for many years. In the hopes of finding a solution to this problem, the Indonesian government has been engaged in intermittent discussions concerning the granting of special autonomy to the province. As a result of these efforts, an agreement to cease hostilities was signed in December and great progress is being made towards establishing a lasting peace in the region.
Secretary-General Yamasaki spoke highly of Mr. Yudhoyono's diligent work to deal with this problem. He also expressed concern about the recent terrorist bombing in Bali. In response, Mr. Yudhoyono provided the Secretary-General with a detailed report of the investigation being conducted into the bombing and possible connections between it and the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. After hearing the report, Secretary-General Yamasaki pledged to οΎ’lend full support to counter-terrorism efforts.
Secretary-General Yamasaki later spoke about improving the environment for investment in Indonesia by Japanese business interests. Mr. Yudhoyono assured the Secretary-General that although improvements are needed in management-labor relations, policies for tax accounting, and laws in Indonesia, public safety and security do not present as many concerns as is perhaps thought.

December 11 (from New Zealand)
Phillip Henry Gibson, New Zealand's Ambassador to Japan, meets with SAITO Toshitsugu, Director-General of the LDP's International Bureau
Mr. Phillip Henry Gibson, New Zealand's Ambassador to Japan, paid a visit to LDP headquarters on December 11th to meet with International Bureau Director-General Saito. International Bureau Director-General Saito, who also recently became Director-General of the Japan-New Zealand Parliamentarians Friendship League, is making great efforts to develop the already friendly relations that exist between Japan and New Zealand even further.
Ambassador Gibson provided the Director-General with a detailed explanation of political and economic conditions in New Zealand, as well as with information about this country's rich natural environment and climate. The Director-General expressed his hope that the recent visit made by his Imperial Majesty, Prince Hironomiya, and Her Imperial Majesty, Princess Masako, to New Zealand will serve as an impetus to the strengthening of bi-lateral relations.

December 18 (from Israel)
Yitzhak Lior, Israeli Ambassador to Japan, meets with LDP Secretary-General YAMASAKI Taku
Mr. Yitzhak Lior, Israeli Ambassador to Japan, visited LDP Headquarters on December 18th for an exchange of opinions with Secretary-General Yamasaki on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Ambassador Lior asked that Japan use its influence and work to convince the Palestinians to cease their violent attacks against Israel. He stressed that peace is unattainable so long as this violence continues. The Secretary-General responded by explaining that the establishment of peace in the Middle East is of great political and economic importance to Japan. He pledged that Japan would do its utmost to convey its views to the Palestinians. At the same time, the Secretary-General added that he hoped Israel would work to be more tolerant and exercise prudence in its own use of military force.

December 20 (from the Palestinian National Authority)
Two Palestinian Cabinet Ministers meet with the secretary-generals of the three ruling parties
Dr. Nabil Sha'ath, Palestinian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, and Dr. Maher Almasri, Palestinian Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, met in the Japanese Diet Building on December 20th with LDP Secretary-General Yamasaki, Komeito Secretary-General Fuyushiba, and Hoshuto Secretary-General Nikai.
In greeting the guests, Secretary-General Yamasaki expressed his view that although the world's attention is presently focused on the possibility of an attack on Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a long-standing problem of enormous significance. He further explained that because stability in the Middle East is of such great important to Japan, he would work to ensure that Japan continues its efforts to promote the peaceful resolution of problems there. In response, Dr. Sha'ath expressed his gratitude for the support that Japan has provided to the Palestinian people over the course of many years. He also mentioned that the Palestinians can learn much from Japan about economics, culture, and technology. Dr. Sha'ath concluded by explaining that the Palestinian people have great hopes that Japan will take a more active leadership role in the Middle East peace process.

December 25 (from Indonesia)
Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda meets with Secretary-General Yamasaki and others at LDP Headquarters
Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda, who was in Japan as a special guest of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, visited LDP Headquarters on December 25th to meet with Secretary-General Yamasaki, former Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Takebe Tsutomu, and former Senior Vice Minister of the Cabinet Office Matsushita Tadahiro. Mr. Wirajuda seemed most eager to discuss issues concerning international terrorism and economic problems. He explained that the recent terrorist bombing on the Indonesian island of Bali has had an enormously negative impact on the tourist industry there. In addition to the approximately 500,000 people who are out of work, the regional economy has suffered several billion yen in losses. Mr. Wirajuda also warned that terrorist groups associated with the recent bombing are working to expand their operations not only in Indonesia, but in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia as well. In response, Secretary-General Yamasaki expressed his desire to strengthen friendly relations between Indonesia and Japan. He also made it clear that international terrorism should be dealt with as a problem that affects not only Indonesia, but the whole of East Asia.

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