(AFP) – Feb 24, 2008
LONDON (AFP) — Japan is seeking to step up its international peacekeeping presence, and is considering sending personnel to Sudan, the country's foreign minister said in an interview published Monday.
Speaking to the Financial times from Tokyo, Masahiko Koumura said: "We believe that, compared to Japan's capabilities and strengths as a country, there is more room to make an effort in peacekeeping operations. Sudan is one candidate."
Koumura stressed, however, that any dispatch of peacekeepers to Sudan would be "in relation to Sudan's north-south conflict" and not to the western region of Darfur.
He added that talks were at an early stage, but noted: "As an orientation, or policy direction, we shall strive to step up our contribution."
"Japan is an insular country, not blessed with many resources. For us to continue to enjoy prosperity, we need a peaceful and stable world."
On climate change, Koumura said that Tokyo had not ruled out the idea of a national cap on carbon emissions as part of a global deal to combat global warming, but told the business daily that "any caps will have to be fair."
"If we have a cap-and-trade system in which major emitters, like the US, do not participate, that will not be fair," he told the FT, adding that Japan would insist that "all major emitting countries", including India and China, be part of any deal.
He was also asked by the FT whether he thought a dispute between China and Japan over claims to gas resources in the East China Sea would be resolved soon, to which he replied: "I am not necessarily all that optimistic."
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