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Japan said Mugabe no different from other African leaders

Japan, which was under pressure from countries like the United States not to invite President Robert Mugabe to the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, said it wanted to hear the African voice and did not distinguish between Mugabe and other African leaders.

It said it had invited all 52 African heads of state with the exception of Somalia with which it did not have diplomatic relations.

Africa Division director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sotaro Ozaki said while some countries took exception with the invitation of Zimbabwe, Japan “does not distinguish” between Mugabe and other African leaders.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08TOKYO100, AFRICANS WELCOME JAPAN’S RESPONSIVENESS IN TICAD

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

08TOKYO100

2008-01-11 07:58

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Tokyo

VZCZCXRO9514

PP RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO

DE RUEHKO #0100/01 0110758

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P 110758Z JAN 08

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TOKYO 000100

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

PLEASE PASS TO AID/ANE JBEVER AND MWARD AND AID/PPC

DMENARCHIK AND NNICHOLSON

PARIS FOR USOECD

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/03/2018

TAGS: EAID ECON JA PREL AF

SUBJECT: AFRICANS WELCOME JAPAN’S RESPONSIVENESS IN TICAD

IV PREP

 

REF: TOKYO 93

 

TOKYO 00000100 001.2 OF 003

 

 

Classified By: CDA Joseph R. Donovan for reasons 1.4 (b/d)

 

1. (SBU) Summary. The Fourth Tokyo International Conference

on African Development (TICAD IV) taking place May 28 – 30 in

Yokohama will focus on four main topics: economic growth and

investment; human security; environment and climate and;

consolidation of peace. The GOJ has invited all African

heads of state, including Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe (ref).

Tokyo-based African diplomats are optimistic about TICAD IV’s

potential results given more active input from African

representatives. Establishment of a permanent TICAD

secretariat and a time-bound action plan are still points of

 

SIPDIS

contention, however. End summary.

 

2. (SBU) “Towards a Vibrant Africa” is the theme of the

Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development

(TICAD IV), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) First Africa

Division Deputy Director Sotaro Ozaki told Emboff. The

conference, to be held in Yokohama May 28-30, will center

upon four topics: economic growth and investment; human

security; environment and climate; and consolidating peace,

including building capacity to prevent conflicts.

 

All Inclusive – Even Mugabe

—————————

3. (C) The GOJ’s goal in TICAD IV is to “hear the African

voice” and to involve all parties interested in African

development. As such, Ozaki said Japan has invited all 52

African heads of state (with the exception of Somalia with

which Japan does not have diplomatic relations), including

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. He acknowledged some

countries may take exception with the invitation to Zimbabwe,

but maintained Japan “does not distinguish” between Mugabe

and other African leaders. As of January 3, 34 African

governments had accepted the invitation, according to

newspaper reports. Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura

recently traveled to Tanzania (septel) and former Prime

Minister Mori will visit Africa in early 2008 to bolster

support for the conference. In addition to African heads of

state, Japan will also invite representatives from donor

countries, emerging donors, and international organizations

to attend TICAD, Ozaki stated.

 

“Competition Is Good for Africa” – The African View of TICAD

——————————————— ———–

4. (C) There are “very mixed opinions” among African

governments regarding the success TICAD has produced over the

15 years of its existence, according to Tokyo Embassy of

Mozambique Minister-Counsellor Ermindo Ferreira. Most would

agree, he said, that progress in implementing commitments has

been far too slow. With globalization and the rise of

emerging market countries such as China and India, demand for

Africa’s natural resources is increasing. Ferreira believes

the rising role of new donors could be the reason for Japan’s

new-found interest in TICAD. “Competition is good for

Africa,” he observed.

 

5. (C) MOFA Director General for International Cooperation

Koro Bessho echoed Ferreira’s assessment, but lamented

China’s disregard for international conventions on

assistance, particularly the OECD development assistance

committee (DAC) guidelines. Bessho emphasized that TICAD is

an all-inclusive forum to discuss African issues and

contrasted it with the China-Africa Forum which only focused

on China’s relations with the continent. He noted the need to

reinforce the positions stated in the OECD and G-8 in recent

years on development issues, including attention to good

 

TOKYO 00000100 002.2 OF 003

 

 

governance.

 

6. (C) Several Japan-based African diplomats have suggested

past TICADs have been top-down processes run by MOFA with

very little input from African nations or the African

Diplomatic Corps (ADC) in Tokyo. This time, the ADC has been

very aggressive in getting its viewpoints heard and has

formed a TICAD committee consisting of 13 African

ambassadors, headed by Zimbabwean Ambassador Stuart

Comberbach. The group met weekly in late 2006 and early 2007

to produce “Proposals for the Fourth Tokyo International

Conference on African Development” which it submitted to MOFA

in March 2007. Getting MOFA to accept the document was “a

major victory” one diplomat said. The paper provides an

overview of Japanese ODA to Africa to date and outlines seven

proposals with corresponding action items for TICAD’s agenda.

 

7. (SBU) According to the document’s executive summary, the

lack of a monitoring or follow-up body has made it difficult

to measure TICAD’s effectiveness. In addition, no detailed

or time-bound action plan emerged from any of the prior

conferences. The ADC document notes goods and services from

Africa accounted for only 2% of Japan’s total imports in 2003

and 2004. The continent receives only 0.4% of Japan’s total

foreign direct investment (FDI) and, of that, 85% went to

just two countries, Liberia and South Africa. The ADC paper

does hail recent indications that the Japan International

Cooperation Agency (JICA), which provides technical and other

assistance to developing nations, is now more active in

Africa. In addition, the paper cites recently-developped

trade and investment programs as having great potential,

particularly the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance Facility

(EPSA), which aims to foster private sector activities on the

continent.

 

The ADC’s Proposed Agenda

————————-

8. (SBU) Building on this review, the ADC document proposes

the following for TICAD IV’s agenda: consolidation of peace,

including capacity building for conflict prevention;

fostering infrastructure projects in conjunction with the

African Union’s (AU) New Partnership for African Development

(NEPAD); institutional and human capacity-building for human

security including education, food production and security,

and health; promoting capital flows and strengthening

financial institutions in Africa especially foreign direct

investment and trade support for the private sector;

embracing the information and communication technology age;

protecting the environment for sustainable development and;

the role of women including reaffirming the importance of

women in African development. According to an ADC member

diplomat, MOFA collapsed these seven into the four agenda

items outlined in paragraphs 1 and 2.

 

A Permanent Secretariat?

————————

9. (C) The issues of a follow-up body and a time-bound action

plan, however, remain contentious. The ADC wants to

establish a permanent secretariat in Tokyo consisting of AU

members. According to African diplomats here, however, MOFA

maintains because Japan sponsors and finances TICAD, MOFA

should be responsible for ensuring commitments are met. The

ADC and MOFA have recently been discussing a compromise

solution in which representatives from the AU, ADC, MOFA, the

Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), the World

Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),

among others, would meet once-per-year to review program

implementation. No agreement has yet emerged.

 

 

TOKYO 00000100 003.2 OF 003

 

 

Cautiously Optimistic

———————

10. (C) Nevertheless, African diplomats in Tokyo are

cautiously optimistic about TICAD IV given the GOJ’s

willingness to engage and hold regular meetings with the ADC.

In addition, planning ministerials were held in Lusaka and

Tunis in 2007 and another is planned in Gabon in March to

ensure African capitals are in agreement with the TICAD

agenda. This is a significant departure from previous TICAD

planning, according to African diplomats. They are hopeful

Japan’s concurrent hosting of TICAD and the G-8 will result

in more progress on African development issues, perhaps even

in making Africa a permanent G-8 agenda item.

 

Comment

——-

11. (SBU) Although questions about past TICADs were generally

met with eye-rolling and disparaging remarks, many

Tokyo-based African diplomats believe Japan has turned the

corner in its thinking regarding aid and trade with the

continent. There is still much cynicism as to the reasons

behind this change, with many attributing it to competition

with China for political influence and natural resources.

Still others say Japan is using aid as a way to buy support

for a permanent UN Security Council seat. The recently

announced 4% cut in Japan’s spending for official development

assistance during the coming fiscal year, however — which

makes for a total cut of 40% over the past 11 years — will

further limit resources to woo friends in Africa, regardless

of the motivation. End Comment.

DONOVAN

 

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