8TH ANNUAL MEETING
ASIA PACIFIC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM
10-13 JANUARY 2000
Opening Address by His Excellency Yasuhiro Nakasone
His Excellency the Governor General; the honourable Neil Andrew, Speaker of the House; the honourable Senator Margaret Reid, President of the Senate; parliamentarians; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen: it is a great pleasure for me to join with you in this hall. I would like to offer my greatest appreciation to you for making this assembly possible. Since yesterday, we have had a delightful time together, thanks to the consideration of the Australian parliamentarians. We have studied a lot and we have had a lot of fun. We made a bus journey across Australia, and I had the experience of a transcontinental tour. I come from Japan, which is a very small country. After the
transcontinental bus journey, I understand why the Australian people are so tolerant and so broad-minded. They love wildlife and they respect human rights so much. Above all, in diplomatic policy and foreign relations they have a broad-minded position, and their policy positions are very open and well advanced. I really think that the wide expanse of land that they have has created this kind of psychology. I really feel that I understand, first-hand, why Australians are so broad-minded.
Having come to this Parliament House. I thought it was like a museum rather than a parliament house. I thought it was a museum, an art gallery of grandeur and that the parliamentarians must be pieces of art or artefacts. I even felt the parliamentarians’ artistic presence. It is very bright, very colourful and a lot of natural light comes in when you are in this Parliament House. I come from the Northern Hemisphere, you see, and we have conspiracy and suspicion. Perhaps in the Southern Hemisphere you do not have so much conspiracy or so many very nasty fights and so forth. That is my impression.
So this is the memorable first meeting of the APPF in the new millennium. As I said yesterday, we are at the watershed in history. We are at the watershed between the 20th century and the 21st century. In the final analysis, as you can understand, from past history we will discard the evil things and we will incorporate new, good things as we go into the new century. That is the mission for us as parliamentarians. We will discard all the wrong things that we acquired in the past century and we will incorporate new things for the coming century. We will keep on holding onto the pride, culture and civilisation that we have carried so that we can hand it over to the next generation. I think that is the very
serious responsibility of us parliamentarians. So, I would like to discuss such matters with you from tomorrow, here in this hall. It is a great pleasure that I have this chance.
Since last year, we have seen the debacle of the WTO Ministerial Conference. We have seen natural disasters hitting various places in the world. In India and in Pakistan, the launching of rockets and testing of nuclear bombs have taken place. In other words, problems have hit us one after another. An even bigger problem is to what extent we are going to identify DNA. How are we going to proceed with the genome decipherisation? Are we allowed to make copies of human beings? Of course, this is not allowed but, if the DNA is studied and elucidated to the finest point, probably we will come to the cardinal question of where life comes from. I do not think chemical formulae will produce life but
such a serious issue awaits us in this 21st century. So, including all these problems, we have to consider the destiny of mankind. Bearing those in mind, we have to seek the development of the APPF. I think we have come thus far.
We have day-to-day problems, routine problems, and these problems are the ones that parliamentarians also have to seriously tackle, so I would like to study seriously with you in this forum. Once again, I would like to offer my heartfelt appreciation for the most affectionate, most meticulous and most perfect arrangements made by the Australian parliament and the Australian government. Together with colleagues, I would like to offer my appreciation to our Australian friends. With that word of thanks, I would like to complete my remarks. Thank you very much.