Japanese Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda answered questions on several sensitive matters when he attended a professional luncheon at the Foreign Correspondents' club in Tokyo on thursday (10 March).
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Background: Japanese Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda answered questions on several sensitive matters when he attended a professional luncheon at the Foreign Correspondents' club in Tokyo on thursday (10 March).
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Fukuda was first asked about reports from Washington that United States President Jimmy carter has stood by the decision to withdraw more than 30,000 American troops from South Korea over the next four or five years. Mr. Fukuda said the withdrawal would pose a great problem for Japan and all of Asia because peace on the Korean Peninsula had been maintained by a delicate power balance involving Japan and the United States and the Soviet Union and China. But Mr. Fukuda said the move would have no impact on Japan's defence arrangements.
The correspondents then asked Prime Minister Fukuda whether he supported President Carter's stand on human rights. President Carter has angered the Soviet leaders by sending letter of support to Soviet dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov. The 72-year-old Mr. Fukuda said he fully supported
President Carter's human rights diplomacy, but he was evasive over whether he would advise President Carter about the problem of human rights in Asian countries where the United States has some influence -- South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines. Mr. Fukuda said it was a delicate question and he had no comment.
Before the end of the meeting Premier Fukuda also spoke on Japanese-Soviet relations. He said he could see no easy way of solving the problem of the four northern Japanese islands seized by the Soviet Union at the end of the last world war, but he hoped that the two country's relationship could be gradually worked out.