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Japan committed to stability and prosperity in East Asia: FM

(Xinhua)

08:59, January 05, 2012

TOKYO, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba on Wednesday said Japan remained committed to stability and prosperity in East Asia as the region experiences changes such as the death of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) leader Kim Jong Il and the succession of his son Kim Jong-un to the top post.

"By working in close cooperation with countries concerned, we will take all possible measures to prepare for any contingency," Gemba said at a news conference Wednesday.

"Various movements are taking place every day, especially in East Asia," Japan's foreign minister said regarding the situation on the Korean Peninsular and in the Asia Pacific region in general.

"In 2012, in a bid to maximize Japan's national interests, I will make my utmost efforts to carry out substantive diplomacy, which will actively try to resolve global issues," Gemba said.

"China's participation is indispensable in constructing a new regional order," he added in his first public address of 2012.

Gemba also told reporters that the ongoing discussions regarding Japan joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade negotiations -- an issue that has divided the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and received harsh criticism from opposition parties, agricultural and other business lobbies concerned about Japan's national interests -- would remain a key focal point for the government going forward.

He also said that the ongoing plans to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station within Okinawa Prefecture, a bilateral deal made with the U.S. that has drawn the ire of prefectural officials and citizens in Japan's southernmost prefecture, will also be a pertinent issue for the government in 2012.

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