On March 13, the 5th session of the DPJ Open Forum (formerly known as BBL) special project Voices from the World was held at party headquarters. Guest speaker was Russian Ambassador Mikhail Mikhailovich Bely, who was accompanied by several other diplomats from the Russian Embassy in Tokyo.
At the start of the meeting, former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, currently serving as Supreme Adviser, and Acting Secretary General Shinji Tarutoko made welcome speeches representing the party. Hatoyama expressed his appreciation to Ambassador Bely for kindly agreeing to participate in the event, along with his expectation that it would be possible to hear the Ambassador’s “frank opinion” on the issues concerned. Tarutoko said that the Voices from the World had been organized by the party in consideration of the fact that “as a party we must create secure diplomatic channels with overseas nations. As one aspect of this we are listening to the opinions of Ambassadors stationed in Tokyo, and hope to use these properly as seeds for [our activities]”.
Ambassador Bely touched on the fact that the anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake had just passed, expressing his renewed condolences for the disaster, as well as commenting, “I am convinced that Japan will without fail overcome this disaster, undertake restoration and develop to an even higher level.” He went on to discuss such topics as Russia’s foreign policy and the bilateral relationship, and then answered questions from the assembled Diet members on a variety of matters, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Russia’s domestic politics, and his evaluation of the Japanese economy.
The meeting, which is jointly organised by the DPJ International Department and the Office of the Secretary General, was attended by Administration Committee Chair Hideo Hiraoka, International Department Director-General Issei Tajima and Chief Vice Secretary General Koji Matsui, as well as members of the Japan-Russia parliamentary friendship league and other interested Diet members.