QUESTION 6: With regard to the Middle East peace process, this is important not only for Japan but for the entire world. I think that is what you said too. In the Middle East peace process, what kind of political and economic role can Japan play in the Middle East peace process, and also, what about Egypt's position in the Middle East peace process? How do you evaluate our position?
PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE: It is indeed a great pleasure to see an increasing number of Egyptians speaking Japanese as fluently as you do, and I think that this contributes to growing multilayered relations between our two countries, and so I would like to further promote such cooperation in language education, and also to grow our relations generally.
To answer your question, I believe Egypt is a major power in the region that has a major responsibility for peace and stability in the Middle East. Egypt also has diplomatic relations with Israel, and therefore Egypt has, I believe, a major role to play to advance the Middle East peace process. I am given to understand that Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit of Egypt soon will be visiting Israel as a special envoy of the Arab League to promote the Arab Peace Initiative, and we very much count on this sort of role that only Egypt, I believe, can play.
As a responsible member of the international community, Japan also wishes to make as much contribution to the progress of the Middle East peace process as possible. Japan has not got any negative legacy of history with regard to our relations with the Middle East, and we also enjoy trust from both the Arabs and Israelis, and therefore I believe that we have a unique role to play in promoting political dialogue. Especially, to resolve the Middle East peace issues, it is essential that the Palestinians become economically self-sustaining. On the economic front, Japan to date has provided US$900 million or so in assistance, and also we would actively like to promote the Corridor for Peace and Prosperity initiative that aims to establish a distribution network around the agri-industrial park in the Jordanian valley, and thus contribute to the economic development of the Palestinians and also confidence-building among the stakeholders. I spent a lot of time on this idea in my meeting with President Mubarak as well. Both our countries shall cooperate with each other and also exchange information with each other, and work jointly to promote the Middle East peace process.