Deputy Minister Hajaig to hold Discussions with Japanese Foreign Minister

TokyoSouth African Deputy Minister Fatima Hajaig will today Tuesday 27 January 2009 hold discussions with Japanese Foreign Minister Nakasone in Tokyo, Japan.  Deputy Minister Hajaig is paying a four-day official visit to Japan where she, amongst others, co-chaired the 9th South Africa – Japan Partnership Forum together with Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Seiko Hashimoto.

In this regard, Deputy Minister Hajaig will also today Tuesday 27 January 2009 co-chair the closing plenary of the South Africa – Japan Partnership Forum.

Deputy Minister Hajaig is leading a senior South African government delegation to Japan within the context of South Africa’s priority to strengthen North-South relations with a view to consolidating the African developmental agenda.  In this regard, Japan is a member of the G-8 and OECD.

Deputy Minister Hajaig and Minister Nakasone are expected to discuss, amongst others:

  • The status of bilateral political, economic and trade relations between the two countries;
  • Domestic developments in Japan and South Africa;
  • Recent developments within SADC and the African Union;
  • Follow up activities of TICAD IV;
  • African conflict situations;
  • The Middle East;
  • Japan’s priorities and objectives for its tenure as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council;
  • The comprehensive reform of the global governance architecture including the United Nations and the Bretton Woods Institutions; and
  • Global issues of interest including the financial crisis and climate change.

While in Japan Deputy Minister Hajaig will also pay a courtesy call Senior Vice President of the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).

Deputy Minister Hajaig is scheduled to return to South Africa on Friday 30 January 2009.

Africa Policy

Japan’s economic policy toward African development, taken in its entirety, is directed within the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) process which was first held in 1993.  TICAD has led to the implementation of projects aimed at increasing African human resource capacity, infrastructure development and investment.  In the context of the Gleneagles G8 Summit held in July 2005, former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi committed Japan to holding TICAD IV in 2008 in an effort at making TICAD the cornerstone of Africa-Japan relations.  Japan has long advocated the importance of ownership of the development process by Africa in partnership with the developed world.

At the Africa-Asia Summit in April 2005, Japan pledged to double its ODA to Africa in the next three years.  If implemented, such ODA would then amount to 0.7 percent of Japan’s GDP.  However, Japan still falls short of this target (see below).  Japan is of the opinion that based on the Asian experience, the key to African economic development is to foster private sector development through the promotion of trade and investment.  In line with this, Japan hosted the TICAD Asia-Africa Trade and Investment Conference in November 2004.

For Japan, South Africa is a strategic partner in the furthering of its Africa strategy. Japan views its support to South Africa in the context of the latter being a gateway to the rest of Africa and as a result both countries are exploring trilateral co-operation on specific projects as the new frontier for co-operation between South Africa and Japan. 

ODA to Africa: TICAD

At the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) convened by the Japanese Government in Yokohama in May 2008, the participants compiled the Yokohama Action Plan that lays out assistance measures to be implemented by countries or organisations in support of African development.    At the same time the TICAD Follow-up Mechanism was established to regularly report on the progress status of assistance measures announced through the TICAD process, to review or evaluate them at Ministerial level, and to issue new proposals.  The TICAD IV Secretariat, established under the Director-General for African Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs updates and publishes the progress status of the assistance measures detailed in the Yokohama Action Plan. 

The Government of Japan plans to hold a TICAD Process Monitoring Joint Committee meeting in February 2009 in Tokyo to compile a report based on the progress of each assistance measure; and also to hold a TICAD follow-up Ministerial Meeting in March 2009 in Gaborone (dates still to be confirmed, but provisionally scheduled for 21-22 March 2009, level of participants and invitations to follow) to discuss the implementation of the assistance measures based on the report.  In addition, Japan has exchanged views regularly with members of the African diplomatic corps in Tokyo and intends to carefully manage the TICAD Follow-up Mechanism in order to ensure that the assistance measures announced in TICAD IV are steadily implemented.  (This development should be viewed in the light of criticism of the donor countries in many international fora to the effect that ample aid for development has been promised on many occasions but very little has been disbursed: the commitments are not being realised, for various reasons).

The TICAD IV Yokohama Action Plan provides for assistance to African Governments under the following broad categories:

  • Boosting Economic Growth:
    • Trade, Investment and Tourism
    • Agriculture
    • Infrastructure
  • MDGs:
    • Community Development
    • Education 
    • Health
  • Consolidation of Peace and Good Governance
  • Addressing Environment/Climate Change Issues
  • Broadening Partnership

As regards the levels of ODA to be made available under TICAD, the following were relevant recent developments:

  • During the G8 Gleneagles Summit in 2005, Japan made a commitment to double ODA to Africa over the next three years and to increase ODA by $10 billion over the next 10 years. However, Japan’s ODA (net of debt relief) decreased in 2007 due to a 48% decrease in multilateral assistance.
  • Following a decline in Japan’s ODA in 2007, Japan made a new commitment to double bilateral ODA to Africa by 2012 during the TICAD IV Summit in May 2008. It was estimated that approximately 24% of Japan's global ODA would be allocated to Africa in 2008.
  • In various meetings and multilateral fora (including the 11th APF), Japan committed to meet its ODA and TICAD IV commitments in spite of the pending global financial crisis.  Similarly, during the first TAC meeting held in Tokyo on 5 November 2008, Japan stated that the global financial crisis did not impact as much on the Japanese banking sector, but that the economy in general was suffering due to the global decline.  However, it was emphasised that the pledges of former Prime Minister Fukuda at TICAD IV would be fulfilled.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The South Africa-Japan bilateral relationship takes place under the auspices of the annual Partnership Forum.  The purpose of the Partnership Forum is to provide a framework within which both countries are able to continuously work towards strengthening, developing and broadening relations at high levels to the benefit of both countries. Discussions are held over a wide variety of areas such as: Domestic and International Political issues, Development Co-operation, Science and Technology, Health, Economy, Education, Agriculture, Safety and Security and Culture.

Both countries wish to see an increase in trilateral co-operation with third countries in the rest of Africa in an effort to extend and promote economic growth on the continent.

Japan is a very important trading partner for South Africa – in 2005 Japan became (and still remains)  South Africa’s number one export partner, followed by the UK, US and Germany. It is our fourth largest import partner after Germany, China, and the US. In the past decade, South Africa has consolidated its position as Japan’s most important trading partner in Africa.  Broadly speaking the trading relationship is a typical North – South relationship with South Africa importing technology-intensive goods from Japan and exporting base metals. However, in recent years, this is changing with trade in more value-added goods such as motor vehicles forming part of our exports to Japan.

South Africa - Japan Total Trade (Rands – 000)












Total trade




Trade balance




Source:   Customs and Excise (RSA)

Foreign Direct Investment

Since 1994, there have been over 42 major investments in South Africa by Japanese companies, amounting to more than US$ 1 billion.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

27 January 2009



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