President Joseph Estrada of the Republic of the Philippines, who chaired this Summit Meeting, will be giving his views of the meeting itself in a press conference in a little while. I would prefer to leave it to him to offer his evaluation of the meeting itself. However, I will say that the very fact that a Joint Statement indicating the direction for cooperation among the ASEAN+3 across such a broad spectrum was adopted is indeed of great significance itself. It is imperative that we follow up this Joint Statement steadily with concrete actions and I intend to instruct the Minister for Foreign Affairs and other related Cabinet members to ensure that Japan plays a full role in this regard.

I can summarize the major achievements of this Summit in the following three points.

Firstly, based on the findings outlined in the report of the Okuda Mission, I announced a comprehensive plan for enhancing human resources development and human resources exchanges in East Asia. All of the leaders expressed high praise for this Plan. In particular, out Chair, President Estrada kindly suggested that we call this the Obuchi Plan. The approximately US$80 billion in assistance which Japan has steadily implemented for Asia consisted primarily of emergency financial assistance to alleviate the plight of the nations of East Asia severely affected by the currency and economic crises, Now that for the most part the economies of East Asia have overcome the crisis and are on a track to recovery, our task is to work together to prevent the reoccurrence of a crisis and to build a foundation for medium to long-term stable economic development. As a concrete step to this end, I announced on this occasion the assistance measures compiled with a focus on “people.”

Secondly, all of the leaders of ASEAN expressed their welcome and appreciation when I stated that Japan is prepared to enhance and expand assistance in order to redress economic disparity within the ASEAN region and enhance the organizational capacity of ASEAN so that the ASEAN 10 can develop smoothly as a cooperative group. I am confident that through such assistance ASEAN will become a strong partner for Japan as we strive to ensure the peace and prosperity of Asia in the 21st century.

Thirdly, I explained my views about the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit, which Japan will host as the G8 Chair next year, and I was able to gain valuable input from the leaders. As Japan hosts this summit in Asia in the milestone year of 2000, in order to reflect the perspective of Asia as it looks forward to the 21st century. I will continue to bear in mind the valuable insights which the leaders offered and intend to further enhance dialogue with the nations of Asia.

Moreover, I have long since envisioned a dialogue among the leaders of Japan, China and the Republic of Korea, the three nations which serve as important partners for East Asia and it was indeed a great pleasure for me this morning when for the first time ever we had a frank exchange of views focusing primarily on economic issues over a Breakfast Meeting. I believe that our discussions will imbue the process of dialogue and cooperation in Northeast Asia with renewed impetus. I am determined to continue to devote my utmost to our Asian diplomacy in order to further build upon the emerging momentum for enhancing cooperation in the East Asian region.

In conclusion, lot me express my deep gratitude to President Estrada and to the entire Government and the people of the Philippines for so successfully hosting this Summit.

Let me also not forget to thank all of you the members of the working press for your tireless efforts in covering this Summit Meeting.