(Nikkei: April 22, 2015 Evening edition – p. 3)
Following is the gist of the speech delivered by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Asia-Africa summit marking the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference:
Our friends in Asia and Africa were the ones who supported Japan’s reentry into the international community after World War II. I extend our heartfelt gratitude.
Today, we share many more common risks than we did 60 years ago.
We should never allow the use of force by the mightier to bully the weaker. The wisdom of our forefathers in Bandung was that the rule of law should protect the dignity of sovereign nations, be they large or small.
Despicable terrorism is becoming widespread throughout the world. National borders are meaningless in the face of infectious diseases or natural disasters. Climate change has exposed fragile island nations to the risk of disappearing altogether. No single nation alone can solve such problems.
“Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country,” “Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means” — Those are some of the principles the Bandung Conference affirmed. And Japan, with feelings of deep remorse over the past war, made a pledge to remain a nation always adhering to those very principles.
Asian and African nations are no longer Japan’s aid recipients. They are Japan’s partners for growth. The frontiers of Asia and Africa are limitless. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, the East Asian Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific will all eventually head toward Africa.
The driving force for growth is always found in people. Japan stands behind the empowerment of women. We plan to help as many as 350,000 people in the region acquire technology expertise and industrial knowledge.
Our political systems differ. Our levels of economic development are not the same. Our cultures and societies are distinct from one another. But once we recognize that we face a whole host of risks in common, it should be easy for us to unite. Let us all cherish our rich diversity and work together to build peace and prosperity.
[See full text of the speech on the Kantei website]