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K. Ejima: Address to 32nd International Leadership Conference

Address to 32nd International Leadership Conference, Seoul, Korea, August 26–29, 2018


I am Kiyoshi Ejima, a member of the House of Councilors of Japan. Today, I am truly grateful to speak to you at UPF’s International Leadership Conference. As this session is dedicated to discussing parliamentarians’ roles for peace and development on the Korean Peninsula, I would like to offer some suggestions in my capacity as a Japanese parliamentarian.

First of all, I would stress the vital importance of the Korean Peninsula in promoting peace and prosperity in Asia and the world. Besides Korea being the closest neighbor to Japan, whatever happens on the peninsula will unavoidably impact on Japan significantly. Secondly, I believe, for the sake of peace and prosperity on the peninsula, North and South need to move towards peaceful unification.

In June of this year, we witnessed a historic summit between America and North Korea, while the third summit between North and South Koreas will reportedly take place next month when South Korean President Moon Jae In pays a visit to Pyongyang.

Nonetheless, in order to realize peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia including North Korea, we cannot foresee an optimistic future unless issues such as the abduction cases as well as nuclear and missile developments are solved comprehensively. As far as Japan is concerned, without solving North Korea’s cruel state crime of abducting Japanese citizens, Japan’s economic assistance for North Korea will never be feasible.

In this sense, I would call upon international cooperation between South Korea and the United States of America who share common values such as freedom, democracy and market economy. By the same token, peace and prosperity of Northeast Asian region hinges on solidarity among America, Japan and South Korea which share common values.

Incidentally, before being elected to the House of Councilors, I assumed mayorship of Shimonoseki City of Yamaguchi Prefecture for four consecutive terms. As there is a ferryboat route shuttling daily between Shimonoseki and South Korea’s Busan, I used to work on cultivating relations with Busan. Recently, I met with Busan’s current mayor, Mr. Ko Don Oh, soliciting him to pay more attention to the Japan Korea Undersea Tunnel Project. Let me share some points with you.

The three major nations of Northeast Asia, namely, Japan, South Korea and China, collectively produce 22 percent of the world’s total GDP, testifying to their core positions even within the world’s growth center of Asia. With North Korea added to these three nations, however, the Northeast Asian region is plagued with complex problems such as an ideological confrontation long after the Cold War, causing long-belated regional cooperation or community formation. Compared with the EU’s economic integration with Britain and the continent connected through the Euro Tunnel, East Asia which is separated by the Genkai Sea as well as the 38th parallel does not have a regional transportation system with high reliability and efficiency, making a major bottleneck against the expansion of regional trade.

One vital project conducive to solving these problems is the construction of the Japan Korea Undersea Tunnel. While the current logistics must depend upon maritime and aviation routes, if land route is added, not only the economic exchange between Japan and Korea will be accelerated but northern Kyushu and southern Korea could form one integral economic zone.

Moreover, if and when peaceful unification is realized on the Korean Peninsula, it is reasonably anticipated that North Korea will vitalize redistribution of its social capital and development of mineral and tourism resources, accelerating flow of people, goods and capital. Furthermore, with China’s democratization progressing, when the economic exchanges among the three nations expand further, the Japan Korea Tunnel would become an artery in forming the North East Asian Economic Zone.

This Japan Korea Tunnel Project was proposed by the founder of UPF, Dr. Sun Myung Moon back in November 1981 at the 10th International Conference on the Unity of Sciences held in Seoul, Korea. As one of Japan’s Diet members, I shall uphold and work for the Japan Korea Tunnel construction. Thank you for your attention.



To go to the 32nd International Leadership Conference Schedule page, click here.