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Full text of Koizumi's speech in Sydney.

SYDNEY, May 1 Kyodo

The following is the full text of a speech visiting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi delivered Wednesday at an Asia Society dinner in Sydney titled ''Japan and Australia Toward a Creative Partnership.''

Mr. Hugh Morgan, chairman of the Asia Society Australia Asia Center,

The Honorable Minister for Trade Mr. Mark Vaile,

The Honorable Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Alexander Downer,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Mr. Morgan for giving me an opportunity to speak here today. In this capacity of president of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee Mr. Morgan, together with Mr. Imai, president of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations and Mr. Murofushi, chairman of Itochu Corp., has long worked for the promotion of bilateral economic relations, and has given me significant proposals on the future course of our relationship. I would like to thank him once again for his efforts.

I last visited Australia in 1998 when I was minister of health and welfare. I vividly remember Dr. Wooldridge, then minister for health and family services, showing me his wonderful wine collection. Mr. Smith, then minister for family services, took me to his farmhouse in a beautiful area of Tasmania. Mr. Smith recently came to see me in Tokyo, and we talked about the memories at the time of my visit. Australia is a valuable mate to Japan as well as to myself.

The Japanese people think highly of Australia. A recent public opinion poll indicated that Australia is the most popular country among Japanese. My son homestayed in Australia two years in a row during his summer vacation. I suggested to him that he visit another country in the second year, but he chose Australia. He clearly feels Australia's hospitality.

Australia and Japan have a long history of cooperation. Let me give you a symbolic example. Around 90 years ago, Japan dispatched for the first time an Antarctic expedition party led by Lieut. Shirase. The party failed to reach the Antarctic and arrived in Sydney to prepare another attempt. Australians offered moral and financial support to the Shirase party, which was suffering from various difficulties. Eighty-seven years later, the icebreaker ''Shirase,'' named after the lieutenant, rescued an Australian research and transportation vessel, the ''Aurora Australis,'' which was trapped in the ice. I do not know of a better basis for friendship than the people of one country helping the people of another country in times of difficulty.

Japan and Australia have different landscapes and histories, but we share values and interests that provide the basis for our cooperation. We are friends, and I believe we should be even better friends. I came to Australia to let you know that Japan seeks to deepen the spirit of cooperation between us.

In today's meeting, Prime Minister Howard and I agreed that our two governments should construct a ''Creative Partnership'' -- a partnership that would enhance exchanges on political and security issues, strengthen economic ties and intensify cooperation and share experiences on educational, social, scientific, technological and other matters.

Very notably, Prime Minister Howard and I agreed that we should explore all options for deeper economic linkages. We must consider what type of economic partnership we should create to respond to the new international economic realities, particularly in East Asia, while maintaining the basic structure of our complementary economic relationship.

I realize that the recovery of the Japanese economy, which alone accounts for 60% of Asian GDP, has a big impact on the economic dynamism of East Asia, including Australia.

Looking over history, one can see that nations decline without new visions and without the reforms to bring them about. I do not intend to let that happen to Japan. Australia's current good economic performance can be attributed to the tough economic and regulatory reforms that you undertook. I congratulate you. Japan must do the same. Japan must sacrifice what it is for what it can become.

A decade ago when Japan was in the economic bubble, we were overconfident and neglected reform. Now, we have lost our confidence. I keep telling the Japanese people that we should avoid both of them. Since my appointment as prime minister last April, I have accelerated my country's reform as a matter of the highest priority. I have also launched measures to tackle deflation. It is an economic certainty that Japan will have ''no growth without reform.'' I have total confidence in the potential of the Japanese economy in such fields as technology, human resources and IT. While dislocation and resistance always accompany true reform, I believe reform will be achieved. It must be achieved, because it is indispensable to the future of Japan, East Asia and the global economy.

I often hear the questions, ''Why isn't structural reform occurring faster? Why don't we see more results?'' I would point out that Great Britain experienced negative growth for the first two years after Prime Minister Thatcher's reforms were inaugurated. Likewise, the United States under President Reagan suffered negative growth before enjoying the fruits of his reforms several years later.

Our structural reform includes the disposal of nonperforming loans over the course of the next two or three years, the reform of government-affiliated corporations, the participation of private capital in postal businesses, the abolition of regulations preventing free economic activities in the private sector and changes in rigid fiscal and social systems. Reforms are already underway, and I believe we can see indications that the economy is moving toward bottoming out.

The structural reform is expected to encourage foreign investment in Japan, which would further accelerate the recovery of the Japanese economy.

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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:May 6, 2002
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