The late Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi's great passion for Okinawa culminated in his decision to hold a Summit in Okinawa. At the Summit, which I chaired, G8 Leaders discussed what we should do to ensure that all people can enjoy greater prosperity, deeper peace of mind, and live in a world of greater stability. We issued a positive and powerful message for peace from Okinawa, enabling us to throw open the door to the 21st century.
Positioning IT, a key to prosperity in the 21st century, as a central theme for the Summit, G8 Leaders engaged in substantive discussions and called on the world to further promote IT as set out in the Okinawa Charter on Global Information Society. On the issue of development, we agreed in particular to strengthen cooperation toward poverty reduction and combating infectious diseases. Japan will actively take the initiative in these areas, for example by providing the recently announced assistance package amounting to a total of around US$18 billion. On trade, having gathered together the various views of the G8 leaders, we agreed to intensify our close and fruitful cooperation in order to try to launch a new round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations with an inclusive agenda during the course of this year.
Various issues were taken up from the perspective of "peace of mind," including crime and food safety, on which we engaged in a frank and unreserved exchange of views.
Befitting a Summit Meeting hosted in Asia, with regard to world stability, we issued a special statement fully supporting the recent positive developments on the Korean Peninsula, enabling us to stress to the world the importance of issues on the Peninsula. Further, with respect to the Middle East peace negotiations, upon which President Bill Clinton had been focusing his efforts directly prior to the Summit Meeting, although unfortunately an agreement was not reached recently, Japan, together with the other G8 members, will continue to give our utmost support to negotiation efforts.
In order to play a key role in resolving the vast number of issues facing the world as globalization proceeds apace, it is vital that the G8 further enhance dialogue with non-G8 countries, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other groups. Based on such a philosophy, prior to the Summit Meeting and as a first-time experiment I conducted an exchange of views with the Presidents of Nigeria and South Africa, respective Chairs of the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the President of Algeria, mandated by the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Prime Minister of Thailand, Chair of the Tenth Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD X) and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and representatives of international organizations, NGOs and other groups. I introduced these views in the Summit Meeting. In considering the modality for future Summit Meetings, the G8 leaders each highly commended the meeting as very valuable.
I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the citizens of Fukuoka, Miyazaki and Okinawa, as well as people throughout Japan, who offered enormous support and exerted tremendous efforts toward the hosting of the Summit Meeting. In particular, in Nago City, the venue for the Summit Meeting, and the municipalities which the G8 leaders visited, the local communities were united in their welcome for leaders. Indeed, the leaders themselves expressed moving words and extended their deepest gratitude for the warm welcome they received in Okinawa, and for being presented with the opportunity to come into contact with Okinawa's wealth of culture and history. As a result of the Summit Meeting, the eyes of the world focused their attention on Okinawa and the spirit of Okinawa was conveyed throughout the world. It is my firm belief that the efforts of the people of Okinawa ensured that late Prime Minister Obuchi's vision was fully realized. It is my great hope that raising the profile of "Okinawa" around the world will serve to stimulate the further development of Okinawa in a number of different ways.
Source: Japan, Prime Minister, Official Website
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