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Top>Hakumon CHUO [2011 Summer Issue]>[News Plus] France in the world and post 3/11 France-Japan relations Address by French Ambassador Philippe Faure

Hakumon CHUOIndex

[News Plus]

France in the world and post 3/11 France-Japan relations
Address by French Ambassador Philippe Faure

French Ambassador Philippe Faure

French Ambassador Philippe Faure gave an address titled France in the world and post 3/11 France-Japan relations on June 9 in room 8304 of Chuo University Tama Campus Building No.8. The venue was a large lecture room and was crammed with many students, staff and the media, who listened with serious expressions to the Ambassador of France, which is also a country that promotes nuclear energy.

In addition to an introduction and introducing how the French Embassy never closed after the March 11 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, how he never left Tokyo, rescue operations and crisis management, Ambassador Philippe Faure also gave a lecture on the three themes of 1)France's international position, 2)Current diplomatic issues, and 3)Post 3/11 France-Japan relations.

First, about France's international position, he pointed out the 27 member unions of the EU have a population of 500 million people and a GDP of 16 billion dollars, exceeding that of North America's 14 billion dollars, and stressed that, "the EU is in the process of building relations which cross borders." He stated that the universal currency, the Euro, had been introduced and that "great stability" had been brought to the economy of each country, asserting that "we cannot go back" to a pre-introduction situation.

He also introduced that France's workforce has been highly rated in the world's top three and that productivity is second in the world. He further stressed that, although France's population of 62 million is not extremely high, it has attracted much investment from overseas.

In addition, he gave examples that France's image is not just that of Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, but "is also active in a wider range of fields," and sends exports to Japan in the form of Airbus and private satellites, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, and agricultural products etc. He also mentioned that, "France is working hard as the world's fifth largest economy."

In relation to the nuclear problem, he introduced that France commenced nuclear power 50 years ago and that currently 80% of France's total energy output relies on nuclear energy. He pointed out the thinking that in nuclear power "it takes 100 years" from construction and operation to shutting down and dismantling, so to undergo nuclear operations, "you must have a 100 year outlook."

Continuing, he moved onto foreign relations and stated that, "Through France's strength in diplomatic efforts, we have the world's second largest network," with 188 embassies, 97 consulates and 400 cultural facilities worldwide. He also pointed out that French is studied widely in Africa and Mexico, and stressed that, "French has a much more important role to play in the world."

On the military front, France has 30,000 soldiers deployed overseas and taking part in UN military activities, and showed understanding that, "in order to show our existence to the international community, we need to take risks." He also stated that with France being a permanent member of the UN Security Council is of matter of great importance.

From another angle, he pointed out that the French presidential term is five years, and with Presidents Chirac and Mitterrand serving 12 and 14 years respectively, "they participated in G8 summits over long spans, showing our existence to the world." In comparison, he said, "Japan is always changing its prime minister and is unsettled. It is extremely disappointing when there are international meetings," showing displeasure in Japan going through five prime ministers in recent years.

About "post 3/11 France-Japan relations", in addition to saying, "France-Japan relations were good before 3/11," he mentioned that "there are things that we can identify with intuitively," in cultural and construction fields in France and Japan, and that in addition to the culinary field, Japanese manga have become very popular among the French youth of late.

After the earthquake, France immediately deployed a rescue team of 100 firefighters to Japan, as well as providing non-humanitarian aid such as mineral water, medical equipment, protective clothing and radiation level measuring equipment "hoping to show that we will provide any assistance possible."

Faure also introduced that when President Sarkozy visited Japan at the end of March, he proposed aid in many forms such as robots, materials and contaminated water disposal, and especially that since June 10, French nuclear power company, AREVA, has been undertaking disposal operations of contaminated water which includes high density radioactive substances.

To finish, Faure said, "Japan and France should strengthen their relationship in the future and, through cooperation, show leadership on the world stage," stressing the importance of strengthening France-Japan relations.

The lecture, including a question and answer session, extended well past the planned closing time, and ended a great success.

(Student reporter Mutsumi Ogiwara, 3rd year student in the Faculty of Law)