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Press Conference by Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa
and President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation
at the 1993 G7 Economic Summit: Tokyo Summit III
18:22-19:13, July 9, 1993, Tsuru West Room, Hotel New Otani, Tokyo
• I. Introduction
• II. Statement by Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa
• 1. Overview of the G7 Plus One Meeting
• 2. Support for macroeconomic stabilization
• 3. Safety of nuclear power plants in the former Soviet Union
• III. Statement by President Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin of the Russian Federation
• 1. Political issues
• 2. Economic issues
• 3. Matters still to be addressed by the Group of Seven
• 4. Meetings between President Boris Yeltsin and other leaders
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Masamichi Hanabusa: At 18:30, our press conference, given jointly by Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa and President Boris Yeltsin will start on the G-7 Plus One. Ahead of that press conference, allow me to explain the ground rules for the press conference. The press conference will be for 30 minutes. Prime Minister Miyazawa will lead off, followed by President Yeltsin. After their opening remarks, we shall open up for questions. The press conference will be run by myself, Mr. Hanabusa of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Mr. Vyacheslav Vasiljevich Kostikov of the Russian Foreign Ministry. Those of you who wish to ask questions are requested to raise your hand, and when you are recognized, please go up to one of the microphones nearby and state your name and affiliation before asking your question. If at all possible, please specify to which Head of State or Government you wish to direct your question. We should like to entertain as many questions as possible, so please therefore limit yourself to one question. One last request. At the end of the press conference, Prime Minister Miyazawa and President Yeltsin will leave this room. Please remain in your seat until they are out of the room. Please wait for a few more minutes. Thank you.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Masamichi Hanabusa: We should now like to start the press conference on the G-7 Plus One meeting; it is a joint press conference by Prime Minister Miyazawa and President Yeltsin. Prime Minister Miyazawa, please.
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Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa: Compared to the G-7 meeting with President Yeltsin last year in Munich, we developed our consultations to a wide-ranging area of cooperation. The G-7 Heads of State and Government agreed to invite President Yeltsin next year as well to the Summit Meeting in Italy in the same format. The G-7 leaders and President Yeltsin conducted an exchange of views on international issues of high common interest to both the G-7 and Russia as partners for world peace and stability which require adequate communication between us. We also covered such areas as the Bosnia-Herzegovina situation as well as the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. President Bill Clinton of the United States led off the political discussion, and expressed, as also reflected in the Political Declaration, the hope that President Yeltsin of Russia would promote diplomacy based on the principle of law and justice, and continue to play a constructive and responsible role in the international community. President Clinton, also in his lead-off remarks, referred to the importance of complete normalization of relations between Japan and Russia. The G-7 leaders supported the reform efforts of President Yeltsin and also expressed the hope that a new constitution would be adopted successfully and that a democratic and stable Russia would emerge. At the meeting this time, the G-7 leaders reaffirmed their continued support for political, economic and diplomatic reform of Russia. On the economic side, Chancellor Kohl led the discussion. Following that, all the G-7 leaders welcomed the continuing courageous reform efforts with the support of the Russian people in spite of the numerous difficulties experienced in the economic area. While still reaffirming their support for the self-help efforts of Russia, they stressed the need to continue the incessant efforts on the Russian side for their economic reform. With regard to support for Russia, since the April meeting of the G-7 ministers, there have been some follow-up developments, and the following major points were stated in our discussions with President Yeltsin this afternoon.
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Prime Minister Miyazawa: With regard to support for macroeconomic stabilization, it was stated that significant progress was made in the form of the release of the S1.5 billion first tranche of the newly established International Monetary Fund (IMF) systemic transformation facility. We very much hope that the Government of Russia will assume further concrete measures to control inflation and reduce the budget deficit and reach an early agreement on a standby arrangement through expeditious negotiations with the IMF. On support for structural reform, we welcomed the approval by the World Bank Executive Board of $610 million oil sector rehabilitation loan in this area of structural reform of energy. Also, the leaders pointed out the importance of legal institution building in Russia in order to increase private sector investment. At the same time, we also expressed that expeditious preparation is proceeding under the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to establish $300 small- and medium-size enterprise support fund. With regard to support for privatization of large enterprises, the G-7 leaders agreed on the establishment of a special privatization and restructuring program amounting to $3 billion for the purpose of promoting corporate restructuring as well as providing technological support and regional support. We also reaffirmed that it was necessary to encourage the private sector in order for us to share methods and technology for improved productivity with the Russians. On trade expansion, we believe that improved access for Russian products in the international market, including a general system of preferences, will contribute significantly to structural reform in Russia. The G-7 countries intend to cooperate with Russia toward GATT membership. Effective implementation of export controls by Russia will also promote relaxation of the COCOM regulations. The G-7 has been providing large-scale export credits through various institutions. We believe that access to such institutions holds the key to the conditions for generous rescheduling conditions agreed on in April with Russia.
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3. Safety of nuclear power plants in the former Soviet Union
Prime Minister Miyazawa: With regard to the safety of nuclear power plants, the G-7 countries requested Russia and the other countries concerned to assign even higher priority to the removal of risk arising from the nuclear power plants. The G-7 countries reaffirmed on this occasion their support based on the multilateral action plan agreed on at the Munich Summit. The G-7 countries also during the meeting requested President Yeltsin to implement expeditiously effective improvement measures encompassing the early implementation of short-term measures such as the early closure of dangerous nuclear reactors as well as other mid-term and long-term measures. We had a lively exchange of views over three hours which I believe has promoted mutual understanding significantly between the G-7 countries and Russia, and I believe this has been very useful in establishing partnership as well.
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President Boris Yeltsin: Distinguished Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen, the l9th meeting of the Group of Seven has taken place. At the last Munich meeting, there were financial and economic assistance being given to the process of reform. But in terms of scale those measures were rather small. In the year that has passed, relations with Russia have changed. We have moved along toward a democratic and free market economy. However, the process of change has been a difficult one. The seriousness of the situation in Russia has made it possible for the Group of Seven to understand the possible outcome of such reforms and the importance of it for the world. There are new programs in support of reforms in Russia. Of course, our negotiations and conversations today have been at a different level. Naturally, in the civil society, about 20 million people have been involved in privatized enterprises. There are half a million privatized enterprises already. There are professional and religious groups and are all working, and a vast gamut of groups in society are involved in the work on the constitution. Naturally, Russia has to find a situation of law in keeping with the constitution and in the interests of democracy, and also in keeping with the democratic practice of the G-7 in a democratic society. A democratic Russia is a major factor in the stability of the world. Naturally, the economic stability is important too. Potentially, Russia has a considerable political potential with regard to the area that used to be the former Soviet Union. The G-7 faces a considerable complexity in the economic situation, but this should not dissuade those who are in favor of Russia. At Tokyo we have seen that there is a partnership that is being formed for the long term. Russia is ready to cooperate throughout the vast range of possible spheres of cooperation in keeping with the appropriate declaration. We must strengthen peace in all regions of the world, and humanity must be helped and assisted in its fight against terrorism. We must get rid of weapons of mass destruction. We must actively participate in the process of settling crises such as that in Yugoslavia and other parts of the world. This we have proved in deed, not merely in words. I would like to note the importance of protecting national minority rights in the newly formed States where the Russian- speaking population is subjected to discrimination.[back to top]
President Boris Yeltsin: Now, the economic questions. In the last year, Russia has got out of the dead end of the former system. The major first step has been taken. Our economy is not a state economy; it is a different one. There is a freeing of prices and the market mechanisms are being instituted. We are getting to the level of the normal functioning of a free market economy. We are taking steps to reduce the budgetary deficit and raise the level of productivity. We are controlling inflation. Naturally, we are trying to do our best on the basis of our internal resources. There is still a vast number of problems facing us. Therefore, we welcome assistance to the process of reform in Russia from major leading countries. Now, what was the gist of the issues discussed at this meeting? Naturally, the leaders of Group of Seven have promised to give further assistance, and the International Monetary Fund has promised $1.5 billion towards the end of the summer. The second tranche will be given and paid in autumn. With the creation of the Facility for Privatization, about $3 billion has been promised. This is a package that is to be paid before the end of this year or by the beginning of 1994. Of course, this particular facility has about $300 million. Perhaps this is not enough, but it is going to be broadened subsequently. There was support from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to support the energy sphere of production, in oil and gas, about $600 million. Immediate negotiations will be started with regard to credit from the International Monetary Fund for stabilization of our currency, the ruble. One of the major spheres of cooperation concerns nuclear safety and the Prime Minister mentioned this. There are priority matters concerning the closing down of atomic energy power stations, providing safety in connection with nuclear waste and nuclear materials. We have to resolve technical problems, naturally. It is precisely in this sphere that we must resort to grants in this connection. We shall continue work in creating an effective mechanism of coordination of control in using such economic support for Russia, and we will do our best to make sure that such resources will go to good purposes.
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President Boris Yeltsin: Of course, the assistance given by the Group of Seven is not all of an equal level or nature. This does not necessarily mean all problems will be resolved. The Group of Seven should do its best to reduce trade barriers. There are discriminatory attitudes towards Russia, and progress is less noticeable than in the political sphere. We cannot agree with the discriminatory attitudes leading to anti-dumping measures and other limitations set on our process of trade. These should be removed. We are glad to see that the Group of Seven as seen it right to agree with our point of view. The COCOM rules are still in force. The Group of Seven has confirmed assistance to Russia in this matter. Russia needs integration with the world system, and this is required vitally and this is essential. It is easier to talk about things than to move ahead. We need material assistance, being it on a bilateral or multilateral basis. We must coordinate our actions and bring our political understanding and our action into line at a high level.
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President Yeltsin: Yesterday, we met Prime Minister Miyazawa, and this was a fruitful meeting. We touched on matters of territorial differences. This will be dealt with on the occasion of our official visit to Japan and possibly in the month of October. I had an occasion to meet the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. Major. This evening I will meet Mrs. Campbell, Prime Minister of Canada and tomorrow morning I will have occasion to discuss bilateral relations with President Clinton and attitudes and our action with regard to international issues. We would like to express our gratitude to Prime Minister Miyazawa and Japan for the hospitality afforded us here at this meeting of the Group of Seven. We are doing our best to ensure that assistance given to the process of reform in Russia shall not cease but shall continue, also on the part of Japan. We are happy to see the results being achieved in Tokyo and the atmosphere of cooperation. This is part of the new world order. Political decisions are being taken and these have to be implemented. We have a major amount of work to carry out, and this is what we are bound to do. Thank you for your attention.
Presss Secretary Masamichi Hanabusa: Thank you very much. Now, questions.
Mr. Murata (Kyodo News Services): I have a question for Prime Minister Miyazawa. In your initial statement, you referred to the decision to invite President Yeltsin to the G-7 Summit in Naples. For the Tokyo Summit, President Soeharto of Indonesia wanted to have a G-7 Plus One, but the G-7 did not accept his request. When it comes to President Yeltsin or -- regarding past presidents -- I think that four times in a row the Russian presidents have been invited to G-7 Summit meetings. How long are you going to continue inviting the President of Russia? Is it going to be institutionalized? Is the G-7 Plus One going to be institutionalized? The next question is to President Yeltsin. Do you think that the G-7 has accepted Russia to be a member of the G-8? Do you think that the G-7 should turn into the G-8? This is my question. Thank you very much.
Prime Minister Miyazawa: For Russia to become a democratic State and proceed toward a market economy and coordinate or cooperate with us in terms of macroeconomic policy, will certainly be of greatest interest to not just Japan but other countries as well. That is why we visited President Yeltsin this time, and we will also agree to invite President Yeltsin next year to Naples as well. The format will be the same as this year.
President Yeltsin: I would like to answer this question. In connection with the Group of Eight, I am in no hurry. Time is on our side. We are bound to be part of the Group of Eight and I am convinced of this, be it one year earlier or one year later, sooner or later we are bound to be there.
Mr. Boris Grischenko (Interfax): Boris Nikolayevich, Mr.President, you are saying that you are not in a hurry to join the Eight. But could I ask the question a different way? Do you consider the Tokyo Summit has brought something into the relations of Russia with the Group of Seven? This is something that you have been mentioning from time to time.
President Yeltsin: Yes, indeed this is something that I have said actually. I have said here in my introductory statement, indeed, that the Tokyo meeting is certainly different from the previous meetings in that we have been discussing specific concrete programs. These were specific deeds. They were political and economic issues. Diplomatic questions were being debated in specific terms. In this way it is different from previous meetings and it is useful.
Mr. Federico La Mont (Radio Formula Mexico): Even though President Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin stated that during his upcoming visit to Japan he will settle negotiations with Prime Minister Miyazawa about the Kurile Islands, I would like to ask you, President Boris Yeltsin, if the leaders of Russia and Japan have advanced in some way or another in the territorial row that has prevented the two countries from ending their Cold War rhetoric. That is my question for you, President Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin.
President Yeltsin: Well, we have to say that the meeting at present of the G-7 Plus One, we did not really have enough time to discuss anything further. As it was, we had to deal with wide issues and we could not have undertaken a bilateral conversation. I had only thirty minutes with Prime Minister Miyazawa. But we have agreed on meeting again sometime in the middle of October. There will be a visit by the President of Russia to Japan, and there we shall be readier for it and we shall tackle these things.
Ms. Vera Kinyasova (Nezavishimaya Newspaper): Boris Nikolayevich, could you tell us, what ought to be the period required for transition in which the West could remove all limitations to external trade? We know that the Ministers of Finance and Foreign relations were talking in terms of ten years or something of that nature. Perhaps would it be two or three years? President Yeltsin.
President Yeltsin: I think that every country is bound to find its own terms in terms of time. The United States, for instance, has 300 acts of law which appear to be discriminatory against Russia, but President Clinton has already introduced a bill to Congress to amend these. This legislation and this work started immediately after the Vancouver meeting. Others leaders of other countries haven't yet got down to doing this or they may have to tackle a smaller volume or smaller range of such discriminatory clauses in their legislation. Therefore, I consider that we are bound to achieve this with the United States in a matter of two years. Other countries may take a shorter or a longer time. We shall have to wait and see.
Mr. Jay (BBC): What advice, Mr. President, were you able to give the Group of Seven about their problems of low growth, high unemployment, and budget deficits?
President Yeltsin: I do understand that the difficulties of the West are enormous and unemployment is one major issue. But I was trying to assure them and I did assure them that the export of labor from Russia to Western countries is not likely to be on any scale. I think that they need not trouble themselves over it in the next two or three years. After all, our unemployment goes at the rate of about 1.5%.
Ms. Boulton (Financial Times): Boris Nikolayevich, could you tell us, you intended to raise the question of access of Russian goods to foreign markets, and there was a package of assistance for privatization. I wanted to know, what would be your rating of success or lack of success in these terms at this meeting of the Group of Seven?
President Yeltsin: Yes, indeed I had occasion to talk seriously about matters of discriminatory measures against trade. I haven't asked for any special favors. I merely wish to be sure that Russia is treated just like other countries. I am in favor of free trade. After all, we are reaching this internally and we are reaching out in our external trade. Therefore, the greatest frustration that I find in this matter at this level at this meeting is that my energetic appeals and urging got the kind of response that yes, yes, the Group of Seven understands these matters and that they ought to be resolved, but there was nothing specific or concrete by way of answer. But I think perhaps the fund for privatization where the S3 billion is involved. This is the privatization facility that is being arranged. Perhaps I could say further that there is another positive factor that we can be happy with. The atmosphere was good. There wouldn't be a situation where we were being taught by mentors and we as representatives of Russia are being examined on all subjects. No, no. There was an atmosphere of equality, of mutual respect, and I think that we are really getting somewhere, and I think that Prime Minister Miyazawa really has played a positive role.
Mr. Yamagiwa (Sankei Shimbun): Mr. President, you are going through the path of democratization and liberalizing your economy. I pay my due respect to your efforts, but I speak of the Japanese national sentiment. There is an illegal occupation of the Northern Territories from the days of Stalin. Those islands have to be returned. Also I have to be reminded of the problem of the detainees, the prisoners of war, the Japanese officers and soldiers being detained after the war. This is something that is really hanging as a question in the minds of Japanese people. You said that those questions would be dealt with when you visit Japan officially, but this is a precious opportunity that you are in Japan. We waited for two times for your visit to Japan, but you cancelled those visits. This is a special, particular precious opportunity that you are here in Japan, so I would like to invite your comments regarding the Northern Territories as well as the detainees problem of Japanese soldiers and officers.
President Yeltsin: On the question of prisoners of war, I think something has been done already. We have a law that has been promulgated. There is the question of visiting the cemeteries and tombs of those. To the islands, this is a regime without visas, and an exchange of visits throughout the territory of Russia is being arranged. This is going to be signed and approved in a matter of days. We are gong to do our best to do work on the various cemeteries and bring them up to some sort of order. With regard to the islands, this is not a question that has been touched on so far. First of all, we will have to discuss it from all points of view. We cannot merely promise something, and then of course I might require a visa to get back to Russia. After all, you know, I must think in these terms. Perhaps they might let me out, but who knows if they will let me in if I just say reckless things on the islands. So let us prepare for the next visit. This is where we are going to discuss these matters. I was talking earlier to Prime Minister Miyazawa and I was trying to say to him my people are experiencing a difficult time, and the question of territorial matters, these are highly charged politically. This is something that leads to explosions. We have a patient people, and they are experiencing difficult times without resorting to strikes, but territorial losses can be very explosive and I think that the more that Japan assists us in economic reforms, the faster we implement economic reforms and get a higher standard of living, as a result the Russians will be much more serene in matters of decisions concerning territorial matters. They are bound to be highlighted, discussed and debated during the next visit.
Mr. Vykhoukholev (TV Ostanikino): President Yeltsin, you have a package of assistance from the Group of Seven. What are you going to do in Russia to use these funds to make sure that they don't just go elsewhere?
President Yeltsin: This package consists of consistent subpackages and these may be small apparently but each is earmarked for its purpose. I was talking about the resuscitation of the gas and oil industry. About $840 million, that is what it is intended for. On the stabilization of ruble currency, about $1.5 billion and further $1.5 billion in the autumn for the purpose of stabilization of the ruble. These are to be directed for these purposes to ensure that the exchange rate of the ruble to the dollar remains stable. Have you noted that it has in fact been fairly stable in the last month? There is no need to get it to drop, but at least we can try to lower it gradually over time. This is our agreement with the government and also with the Central Bank agreeing. Every million has its purpose and it is to be directed towards specific matters. This is not going to be an overall heap to be distributed liberally. We must note there is a question of promoting, in a non-credit, non- financial fashion, there are credit promotions, there are functions concerning reserves, and there are many ways of promoting these processes, and they must be performed in a concerted fashion.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Masamichi Hanabusa: With the approval of the President and the Prime Minister, we will accept two more questions.
Mr. Rogala (Polish Television): I would like to know what kind of assistance from the West could help your country at the present stage? This is one thing. How long will it take, what will be the effect and when are you coming to Poland at last?
President Yeltsin: I think the Chairman on the Russian side is saying that this is not a question that is not a question that is entirely germane to our discussion. The visit to Poland is being considered and will be a visit still effected this year. But the question of the whole package of assistance being useful, I have just answered a question on this.
Mr. Golovnine (ITAR-Tass): If you don't mind, I would like to ask one short question to the President of Russia and the Japanese hosts. President Yeltsin, I'm afraid that the Russian side and the Japanese side have expectations from the other side; I would like to know what is your opinion with regard to this psychological misfit? Are you satisfied with the result?
President Yeltsin: I would like to say that the psychological attitudes of the people on both sides, be it on the part of the Japanese and that of the Russian people, I think this is perfectly understandable. If we don't instigate people to explosive attitudes on matters of territory, I think gradually feelings will calm down. I think that the mass media should promote greater calmness and inspire greater respect on the part of the Japanese towards Russians and the other way around too. Now, there is the question of for instance a film on the Kurile islands in St. Petersburg. Why was this film not shown over television? I'll explain why. It was because there were fears that this might have led to repercussions. I think that it should have been shown. When I get back home, I will do my best to ensure that this sort of publicity is given. I think that this is a temporary difficulty in our history. We have seen a lot that has been positive and good relations with Japan and there are lots of positive factors and aspects between the two countries. This is what we must promote and increase and enlarge and amplify.
Prime Minister Miyazawa: President Yeltsin arrived yesterday and at noon he read out a message to the Japanese people. I think that it was a very candid and good message. He visited with me and said that this was a visit for the Summit meeting, and therefore wishes to pay an official visit sometime in October and wished to discuss pending matters. That is quite logical, so I said that certainly is fine. As for the Summit meeting itself, earlier, President Yeltsin mentioned that it was not like a student in the midst teachers. That is absolutely correct. The atmosphere was to discuss problems of each other. I think his visit this time was very good. Of course, Japanese people may have rather mixed feelings, but I am sure that his visit this time will have a very favorable effect on the feelings of the Japanese people. Thank you.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Masamichi Hanabusa: Thank you very much. With this we conclude this press conference.
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