Here follows the full text of the interview by Takahashi to MAP, ahead of the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7), scheduled in Yokohama on Aug. 28-30.
1-What are Japan's expectations of the TICAD 7 summit ?
- "Advancing Africa’s Development through People, Technology and Innovation" is the main theme of the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7), to be held in Yokohama from August 28 to 30. One of the concrete agendas to be discussed at the meeting is the promotion of private investment and human resources development through the public-private partnership. Japan hopes that larger number of Japanese companies will expand their business in Africa through fruitful discussions and active interactions among participants at the conference. I believe that the more Japanese companies’ business expands in Africa, the brighter future of Japan and Africa will be.
2 How do you see Morocco’s contribution to the TICAD process ?
-I would like to begin with stating the important role of Morocco in the region, which significantly contributes to the development and stability in MENA. Japan attaches great value to the partnership with Morocco. When it comes to the economic relations, Morocco serves as a gateway to Europe, Africa and Middle East. Its geographical advantage and high economic potential have drawn a great deal of interests from Japanese companies. Morocco has attracted the second largest number of Japanese companies (69) in Africa, and this number is expected to grow. With these in mind, Japan truly appreciates Morocco’s substantial contribution to the TICAD process, where Japan has made efforts toward the Africa’s development including economic growth. To give one example, Japan and Morocco have established a cooperation framework to assist other African countries’ development. Such cooperation is an important theme in the TICAD process.
Taking the opportunity of the TICAD 7, Japan is strongly determined to further bolster this already close partnership between the two countries and to enhance cooperation in various areas through joint efforts of both public and private sectors.
3-What is Japan’s position with regard to the so-called SADR?
-Japan does not recognize “Western Sahara” as a state. This is Japan’s longstanding and unwavering position, and Japan has no intention to change this position. Japan believes that this issue should be settled in a peaceful manner through dialogue between the parties concerned. Japan continues to supports the United Nations’ mediation efforts.