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October 30, 1990

Meeting of ANC Deputy President Mandela with the Minister [Nakayama Taro]

This document was made possible with support from The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Meeting of ANC Deputy President Mandela with the Minister


October 30, 1990

Second Africa Division


In the evening of October 30, Minister Nakayama Taro had a meeting (a continuation of the dinner party) with Nelson Mandela, Deputy President of the African National Congress (ANC). The following is a summary of its main points.

1. Meeting, Minister’s Remarks

I welcome you to Japan. I was impressed by your speech before the Diet.

2. Mandela’s Remarks

(1) It is an honor for me to be welcomed by the Japanese government and the Japanese people. I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to attend meetings and exchange views with people from various fields, as well as for their warm welcome. In my meeting with the Prime Minister, I explained political developments in South Africa and requested financial support. I received from the Prime Minister an explanation on the Japanese side’s thinking in regard to financial support.

I would like to refrain here from pursuing this issue.

(2) Today I had meetings with representatives of Japanese economic circles. I received their explanations on the financial aid that Japan’s government and private sector have conducted so far in regard to African countries and South Africa. I was also grateful to learn that Japanese leaders are aware that Japan’s assistance to Africa is insufficient.

I really thought that there was a possibility of the Japanese government and economic circles giving more aid to Africa.  

(3) The movement against apartheid is facing the social ills that find their origin in apartheid, that is to say, such serious problems as the lack of the right to vote, poverty, education, development, and healthcare. I am happy that the Japanese government has declared that it will engage in friendly and stable relations with post-apartheid South Africa and that it would like to participate in the peace process. I hope for your strong cooperation in eliminating South Africa’s social ills. I thank you for your warm hospitality.

3. Minister’s Remarks

In regard to South Africa’s problems, I understood them from the explanation that you gave in your Diet speech. A new history is being heard in the process of drawing up a new constitution. The Government of Japan, too, would like to cooperate in this. In addition, I would like to know in what form this process will be achieved.

4. Mandela’s Remarks

We have already had two meetings with the South African government and agreed on the removal of nearly all obstacles to negotiations. One problem that remains is the repeal of oppressive laws concerning negotiating authority. The South African government suggested in the Parliament of South Africa at the end of January last year the repeal of many laws. A major issue that we are facing is the process of determining how to appoint or select the people who will draw up the new constitution. The South African government and the ANC are far apart on this. The government’s position is to appoint people from government-related organizations. The position of the ANC is that people elected in a way that is democratic and not racial should be entrusted with this duty. There are many factors as to when an agreement will be reached on this, and it is impossible to predict. Both the South African government and the ANC are aware of the importance of coming to an agreement. The sanctions are hurting South Africa’s economy. The ANC has called for the sanctions to be kept in place until there is an agreement on one man, one vote. The people of South Africa are suffering. We want to come to an agreement as quickly as possible on one man, one vote. There can be no aid so long as there are sanctions. We are optimistic on resolving the problem, but it is difficult to say when this will be achieved.

5. Minister’s Remarks

I hope that an agreement is reached with the South African government. Truly, a new door in history has been opened. International society should support it. I would like to consider seriously what the Government of Japan can do.

6. Mandela’s Remarks (Response When Asked for His Impressions on Visiting Japan)

(1) I received a very warm welcome from the people of Japan.

Today, in particular, I gave a speech before the Diet and met representatives of each party. I had meetings with representatives of Japan’s economic circles, a major part of Japanese society. I believe that, through exchanges of views in these meetings, we have laid the foundation for good relations with Japan’s people.

(2) I was impressed by Japan’s economic prosperity. I was also impressed by Japanese culture, which attaches importance to etiquette.

(3) On the point of financial aid, which was one of the reasons for my visiting Japan, my expectations were not met. This short-term objective was not achieved. However, I was able to have hope regarding the long-term goals. The objectives in the long term are lasting relations of friendship and trust. I hope to promote cooperative relations with Japan from a long-term perspective.


Nelson Mandela and Japanese Foreign Minister Nakayama Taro discuss political developments in South Africa and the need for Japanese economic assistance. Mandela expresses his disappointment that Japan will not offer financial aid for the African National Congress.


Document Information


Published online by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, File 2021-0530. Translated by Stephen Mercado.


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