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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August, 1985

SPECIAL ENVOY NAKAYAMA’S VISIT TO SYRIA (SUMMARY OF REMARKS AND RESPONSE)

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    This summary of Special Envoy Nakayama’s visit to Syria includes discussion of bilateral relations between Japan and Syria, cooperation in economic and technical fields, cultural exchange, peace in the Middle East, and the Iran-Iraq conflict.
    "Special Envoy Nakayama’s Visit to Syria (Summary of Remarks and Response) ," August, 1985, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, File No. 2017-0631. Translated by Stephen Mercado. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/280684
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Confidential

Special Envoy Nakayama’s Visit to Syria

(Summary of Remarks and Response)

August 1985

(Table of Contents)

I Opening Remarks  

II Bilateral Relations

1. Bilateral Relations in General

2. Cooperative Relations in the Economic and Technical Fields

3. Relations in Cultural Exchange

III The Situation in the Middle East

1. The Problem of Peace in the Middle East

2. The Iran-Iraq Conflict

IV The Problem of the Release of the Hostages (Separate Document)

I Opening Remarks

It is a great pleasure at this time to visit your country as Prime Minister Nakasone’s special envoy. I know that the recent visit of Minister Abe to your country was extremely significant for the further development of relations between our two countries. With Minister Abe’s visit to the Middle East having taken place, I was sent this time to carry out exchanges of views with the leaders of your country regarding the bilateral relationship and the international situation.

II Bilateral Relations

1. Bilateral Relations in General

(Summary of Remarks)

(1) Japan and Syria have from the past to the present day enjoyed friendly relations and, in particular with Foreign Minister Shara’s visit to Japan and the recent visit of Minister Abe to your country, these relations are now even more friendly. With the cooperation of Your Excellencies, I hope henceforth to develop further the bilateral relationship.

(2) Prime Minister Nakasone, too, intends to do his utmost for the further development of relations between our two countries.

2. Cooperative Relations in the Economic and Technical Fields

(1) Basic Policy

(Summary of Remarks)

In light of these friendly relations with your country, the role that your country plays in peace in the Middle East, and the greatness of your country’s development needs, our country intends to promote henceforth economic and technical cooperation to the extent possible.

(2) Cooperative Relations in ODA Loans

(Summary of Remarks)

(a) Minister Abe recently said that Japan will apply mixed credits – provided and promised – of 10.4 billion yen to the Substations Project (note below).  I think that the relevant organs of our two countries are now working out the concrete procedures.

(Note) Outline of The Substations Project

In order to address increases in Syria’s future domestic demand for electric power, as plans for construction of large-scale power plants for the present and the future are going forward, this project is to construct three substations (400/230 kV) – at Adra (outside of Damascus), Hama, and Aleppo – to  transmit electricity to Damascus and other areas of consumption. Also, power lines are being built with the cooperation of Czechoslovakia.

In addition, the breakdown is as follows: yen loans of 3.64 billion yen with an interest rate of 4 percent over 25 (7) years; export credits of 6.76 billion yen with an interest rate of 6.3 percent over 10 (2) years. Note: between the parentheses are the deferment periods.

(b) Regarding new yen loans, I know that positive consideration has started to be given regarding the Baniyas Thermal Power Plant that the Syrian side gave as its first priority at the time of Minister Abe’s visit to the Middle East.

(Note) The Project To Expand the Baniyas Thermal Power Plant

In order to address future demand for electric power, this project adds two generators of 170 megawatts to the Baniyas Thermal Power Plant. The foreign currency required is 30 billion yen. Under bid evaluation.

(3) Relations in Technical Cooperation

(Summary of Remarks)

It is truly a great pleasure that a technical cooperation agreement was concluded at the time of the recent visit of Minister Abe to your country. It is hoped that, under this agreement, technical cooperation for your country will be further expanded in a stable manner.

(Reference Material)

(1) Our Country’s Record of Economic Cooperation with Syria

Mixed Credits

Grant Aid

Technical Cooperation

Yen Loans

Export Credits

Total through FY1979

¥15.608 billion    ¥20.25 billion

Maskaneh irrigation project (FY73)

(¥8.858 billion)     (none)

Maskaneh irrigation project (FY79)

(¥3.11 billion)       (¥13.49 billion)

Other projects (FY79)

(¥3.64 billion)         (¥6.76 billion)

                                       none

                                             ¥1.108 billion

Trainees accepted                               120

Survey team members sent                 15

Specialists sent                                       49

Cooperation team members sent       44 Equipment, materials          ¥235 million

Project technical cooperation                1

Development surveys                       1

FY1980

none

                           ¥41 million

Restoration materials for historical remains to Ministry of Education’s General Directorate of Archaeology

                                             ¥179  million

Trainees accepted                                  12

Survey teams sent                                    0

Specialists sent                                          2

Cooperation team members sent       11

Equipment, materials             ¥43 million

Project technical cooperation                0

Development surveys                              0

FY1981

none

                            ¥35 million

Audiovisual equipment to Ministry of Education

                                               ¥183 million

Trainees accepted                                  11

Survey teams sent                                    0

Specialists sent                                         3

Cooperation team members sent       10

Equipment, materials            ¥56 million

Project technical cooperation                0

Development surveys                              0

FY1982

none

                                       none

                                                ¥129 million

Trainees accepted                                  10

Survey team members sent                    0

Specialists sent                                          0

Cooperation team members sent       10

Equipment, materials               ¥8 million

Project technical cooperation                0

Development surveys                              0

FY1983

none

                            ¥30 million

Musical instruments for the Culture Ministry’s Arab Music Industry

E/N 84.2.1

                                               ¥148 million

Trainees accepted                                  14

Survey team members sent                    2

Specialists sent                                          1

Cooperation team members sent          9

Equipment, materials             ¥13 million

Project technical cooperation                0

Development surveys                              0

FY1984

none

none

In process of tabulating

Total by FY1984

¥15.608 billion

¥20.25 billion

¥106 million

(Total through FY1983

                                               ¥747 million

Trainees accepted                                167

Survey team members sent                 17

Specialists sent                                       55

Cooperation team members sent       84

Equipment, materials          ¥356 million

Project technical cooperation                1

Development surveys                              1

(Mixed credits are on basis of Exchange of Notes; ODA loan cooperation is on budget basis; technical cooperation is on JICA basis)

(2) Details on Mixed Credits of ¥10.4 Billion Provided and Promised

In February 1974, mixed credits of 27 billion yen were pledged for the Baniyas Thermal Power Plant (There were no successful bids from Japanese enterprises, so the credits were not used.)

On December 26, 1979, an E/N was concluded, for a part of the 27 billion yen – 16.6 billion yen – to provide an additional loan for the Maskaneh Irrigation Project. In the meantime, an E/N was concluded, with the remaining 10.4 billion yen taken from five plans, including the Substation Project and the Communications Project, and allocated.

(3) Achievements in Technical Cooperation with Syria

FY1982

FY1983

FY1984

Trainees accepted

10

14

11

Specialists sent

0

1

0

JICA members sent

10

9

13

Equipment, materials

¥8 million

¥13 million

In process of tabulation

3. Relations in Cultural Exchange

(1) Basic Policy

(Summary of Remarks)

Cultural exchange between our two countries is considered to be extremely important for increasing  mutual understanding between the peoples of our two countries, which will be the basis for real relations of friendship between our two countries. For this fiscal year in particular, we plan for Japan Week to be held in your country, as Minister Abe recently said to Foreign Minister Shara, and we hope for the invigoration of cultural exchange in every field with your country in the future.

Carrying Out Japan Week in Syria

(a) We have deep respect and praise for your country’s continuing to be a cultural center from ancient times until today, and not only in the Middle East but throughout the Mediterranean region. We consider cultural exchange between your country, which has such a cultural tradition, and ours, which similarly boasts an ancient tradition and culture, to be extremely significant.

(b) I understand that my government, from such a point of view, is now making various preparations for the holding of Japan Week in Syria in late September this year to introduce broadly to your country’s general public our country’s culture through various cultural events. I would like to ask your country for its complete cooperation.

(c) In addition, together with the holding of Japan Week, the plan is to send to your country a mission composed of our businessmen and cultural figures. I myself am planning to participate in this mission as deputy director. Therefore, I would be grateful for your consideration in realizing courtesy calls on key figures of your country.

(Note) Outline of Japan Week in Syria (Plan)

(September 21 (Saturday) – 27 (Friday))

Event

Summary

1. Dispatch of mission to Syria

Participants:

Middle East Institute of Japan Chairman Mizukami

Middle East Institute of Japan President Nakayama

Seiko President Hattori

Omron President Tateishi

Ikuo Hirayama (painter)

NHK President Kawaguchi

Former Keizai Doyukai Senior Managing Director Yamashita

Japan Center for Intercultural Communications Senior Managing Director Asabuki

Also one person from Nara Prefecture

2. Japanese Music Ensemble Public Performances

Public performances by Saburo Kitajima’s party of 15 (enka) and Tokuya Azuma’s party of 5 (Japanese dance) at the Bosra Festival (150 kilometers south of Damascus) and Damascus performance (at the Al Azem Palace)

3. Silk Road Art Exhibition

Exhibition at the National Museum of Damascus of around 15 works of the painter Ikuo Hirayama related to the Silk Road and Syria

4. Contemporary Japan Photo Exhibition

Exhibition of approximately 60 photo panels (each 60 cm x 90 cm) introducing contemporary Japan at the National Museum of Damascus.

5. Ikebana, Tea Demonstrations

Ikebana, tea demonstrations by Minami, Katsuki

6. Japanese Film Festival

Daily showings of seven Japanese films at the Arab Cultural Center in Damascus (with Arabic subtitles, except for three films subtitled in English)

7. Cherry Blossom Tree Seedling Donation Ceremony

Mission Leader Mizukami to hand over to representatives of the receiving organization the inventory of cherry blossom tree seedlings (about 1,000 seedlings). The seedlings will be sent after late November. The plan is to plant them on Mount Qasioun, which overlooks Damascus.

8. Inaugural Ceremony for Project To Raise Remains of Ancient Sunken Ship

With the undertaking of a cooperative project of NHK and the Syrian Government to raise the remains of an ancient sunken ship (with amphora vessels) discovered last year in the waters off Tartus, the project’s inaugural ceremony (ribbon cutting) is to take place during Japan Week.

9. Celebration reception

Holding of a reception hosted by the Japanese Ambassador to Syria

III The Situation in the Middle East

1. The Problem of Peace in the Middle East

(Summary of Remarks)

(1) I understand that there took place a significant exchanges of views during the Minister Abe’s recent visit to your country on the problem of peace in the Middle East. Particularly important is having reconfirmed that your country and our country basically hold nearly the same position.

(2) Our country considers indispensable your country’s participation in peace negotiations in order to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. We hope that your country will exercise its influence and positively contribute to the resolution of this problem.

(3) In particular, the Prime Minister has for some time been greatly interested in the peace and stability of the Middle East, and he intends to attach great importance henceforth as well to exchanges of views with your country.

2. The Iran-Iraq Conflict

(Summary of Remarks)

(1) Our country has to the present day, through a pipeline of political dialogue between Iran and Iraq, worked towards the creation of an environment for an early and peaceful resolution of the Iran-Iraq conflict.

(2) We engaged in a frank exchange of views with Majlis Speaker Rafsanjani when he visited Japan from July 1 to 5.

(a) He said that there was no change in Iran’s fundamental position concerning the conditions for peace in the Iran-Iraq conflict and called for “the punishment of President Saddam Hussein.”

(b) Our side introduced Foreign Minister Abe’s exchange of views at the end of June with the United Nations Secretary-General and strongly recommended that Iran participate in the Security Council. Majlis Speaker Rafsanjani, although critical of the Security Council’s past resolutions for never having been fair to Iran, did not completely reject the recommendation of attending the Security Council.

(c) Majlis Speaker Rafsanjani declared that he could, in principle, accept Minister Abe’s package proposal.

(3) Also, on July 17, Minister Abe met with Iraqi Foreign Minister Aziz in Amman. Foreign Minister Aziz remarked that, if the Iranian side were seriously considering Minister Abe’s package proposal, then his side would be prepared to engage in negotiations with the Iranian side.

(4) (a) Our country will henceforth take every opportunity to call for the need for an early and peaceful resolution of the conflict between Iran and Iraq and appeal for self-restraint, and we intend to continue working towards the creation of an environment for peace.

(b) We would be happy if your country would call on Iran for self-restraint in ground offensives and appeal for the need for peace.

(In the event of being questioned if our side’s call for this is based on a request from the United States)

(Summary of Response)

Our country has until the present day made various strong appeals from the position of opposing terrorism in every form. This request now made of your country, too, is based on Prime Minister Nakasone’s own initiative.

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