|Subject: KY: Japan offers radios, human
resource help for E. Timor
Also: E. Timor jr. soccer team arrives in Tokyo for friendly match
Kono offers radios, human resource help for E. Timor
04/30/2000 Kyodo News
DILI, East Timor , April 30 --
Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono promised Sunday new aid initiatives for East Timor , including offering some 8,000 radio receivers and programs for developing human resources.
"My visit may have been a little bit too late...but I brought all our warm feelings," Kono said after witnessing a signing ceremony on the radio aid at the U.N. Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) headquarters.
Kono, who flew in from Jakarta for a half-day visit to East Timor , is Japan's first cabinet minister to visit the territory.
After the ceremony, UNTAET head Sergio Vieira de Mello expressed "the gratitude of UNTAET and of the East Timorese people for the commitment of Japan."
Kono, speaking later to reporters, said he told de Mello when they met that he will explain the East Timor situation and seek "some active aid" when he chairs the July 12-13 meeting of Group of Eight (G-8) foreign ministers in Miyazaki, southwestern Japan.
A Japanese official said de Mello pressed the importance of the G-8 nations tackling East Timor problems in the context of supporting policies taken by Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid.
De Mello and Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia Takao Kawakami exchanged a diplomatic note for $91,850 in grants to buy the radio receivers for the East Timor community.
Kono later met with independence leader Xanana Gusmao, president of the National Council of the Timorese Resistance, and conveyed Japan's commitments to help nation-building efforts in East Timor .
Japan has pledged $100 million to help long-term economic reconstruction and development in East Timor as part of a three-year package totaling $373.43 million promised by international donors during a meeting in Tokyo last December.
A Japanese official said Gusmao emphasized the need for rapid rebuilding due to feelings of frustration among East Timor 's population.
Kono told Gusmao and de Mello that Japan will proceed with a project to rehabilitate schools by combining official grants and part of the proceeds from a charity concert to be held by the Miyazaki prefectural government during the G-8 foreign ministerial meeting.
Kono also conveyed Japan's intention to sponsor new initiatives such as helping East Timorese students to study in Indonesia and promoting a joint program with Singapore for assisting East Timor in developing human resources.
On Saturday, Kono and Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong agreed to launch a joint program for promoting Japan-funded training sessions in Singapore for East Timorese public servants and police, and offering English lessons to future diplomats.
Police training will focus on the Japanese "koban" system of setting up many small police boxes. Singapore has also adopted the system.
Kono also visited a primary school in downtown Dili and presented writing and other materials to some 200 students gathered to welcome the Japanese minister.
"While traveling through the streets, I realized how houses and schools remain seriously damaged," Kono said.
"There are many things we still need to do, and they may take quite a long time," Kono said. "Japan will steadily support such efforts."
Kono is on a five-day tour that also took him to Jakarta and Singapore. He left Dili later Sunday on a return trip to Singapore, where he will meet with Singapore Foreign Minister Shanmugam Jayakumar on Monday before returning to Japan on Tuesday.
East Timor is in the process of national reconstruction following an August 1999 referendum in which East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia.
The territory was reduced to ruins after systematic destruction and violence initiated largely by pro-Jakarta militias in September.
Indonesia ratified the results of the referendum in October, paving the way for East Timorese to begin the task of transforming the ruined territory into an independent country.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and annexed it as its 27th province July 17, 1976, a move never recognized by the United Nations.
E. Timor jr. soccer team arrives in Tokyo for friendly match
TOKYO, April 29 --
A team of junior soccer players from East Timor arrived in Tokyo on Saturday for a friendly match with a Japanese junior team on Children's Day next Friday, Japanese organizers said.
The match will be held at the Yumenoshima soccer stadium in Tokyo's Koto Ward with the East Timorese players, aged 15 and under, pitted against a Japanese junior team, according to the officials of Peace Boat.
The visit materialized after Peace Boat, a Tokyo-based nongovernmental organization, invited them last year during a trip to the territory, which recently won independence from Indonesia.
The team will stay in Japan through May 7, they added.
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