HC Deb 25 January 1978 vol 942 cc1370-1
9. Mr. MacFarquhar

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will next meet the Japanese Foreign Minister.

Mr. Luard

My right hon. Friend hopes to see Mr. Sonoda soon, but at the moment there are no definite plans for them to meet. However, the Japanese Minister for External Economic Affairs, Mr. Ushiba, is coming to London on 26th and 27th January and will be meeting a number of Ministers.

Mr. MacFarquhar

When Ministers meet Mr. Ushiba, will they express to him the interests of Her Majesty's Government in the unfolding of Japan's avowed plans to increase development assistance? Will they urge upon him Britain's desire that extra aid from Japan, when it is announced, should go where it is most needed, namely, to the countries of South Asia—India, Pakistan and Bangladesh?

Mr. Luard

We welcome Japan's undertaking to double its aid within the next five years. We would welcome, too, any further acceleration of that programme, and we would like to see it spread more widely, with some of it going to multilateral institutions.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

When the Minister has discussions with the Japanese Government, will he advance the opinion that Japan, with its great power, should play a large rôle in maintaining the naval security of the Eastern Pacific and the Indian Ocean, and also discuss the possibility of joint Anglo-Japanese ventures in the great nation of China?

Mr. Luard

That would be a matter for the Foreign Ministers' meeting rather than for the Minister of External Economic Affairs. The hon. Gentleman knows the constraints on Japan expanding its defence expenditure. They lie partly in public opinion and partly in its constitution. The other matter that the hon. Member mentioned is an interesting idea that no doubt could be discussed with the Japanese Government.

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