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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Dalai Lama Lauds Fukuda Backing

May 28, 2008

Chiharu Mori
Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan
May. 27, 2008

NOTTINGHAM, England -- The Dalai Lama, who is currently visiting Britain, on Sunday expressed his appreciation of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's series of remarks on Tibet, in an exclusive interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun.

"We very much appreciate them," the Dalai Lama said in the interview in this city in central England.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader also urged Japan to send further clear messages to China with regard to human rights issues.

"If you are a close friend [of China], it is important to make clear your friend's mistake," the Dalai Lama said.

The Dalai Lama also said he planned to visit Japan around November, after the Beijing Olympics.

When Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi visited Japan in April, Fukuda reportedly told Yang that China has to "squarely face the reality that the situation in Tibet has become an international issue."

In his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Tokyo in May, Fukuda asked Hu to make further efforts to dispel the concerns of the international community over the issue.

The Dalai Lama welcomed the Japanese government's firm stance against China, which insists that the Tibet issue is an internal affair, saying Fukuda's comments "were helpful to make clear some mistakes, [some] wrong policy carried out by the Chinese government."


Following are excerpts from The Yomiuri Shimbun's exclusive interview with the Dalai Lama in Nottingham, England, on Sunday:

The Yomiuri Shimbun: What do you think about the Japanese government's reaction to the Tibet issue?

Dalai Lama: I think the [comments] of [the] Japanese government, including prime minister, we very much appreciate [them]. And Japan, one of the Asian countries, herself suffered a lot, including war. I think only Japanese people experienced nuclear weapons, so there is strong emotions among Japanese, a desire [for] peace [and] antinuclear [feelings are] very strong. So that means the desire for peace is very strong. So firstly, I feel, Japanese can lead the peace movement.

Now [the] Tibet issue, essentially, [has to do] with peace and Tibetans, our sort of way of approach [in our] struggle [is] strictly [one of] nonviolence--that means promotion of peace. And so supporting the Tibetan struggle, the nonviolent struggle, actually [means] helping promote peaceful ways and means to achieve or solve problems. Then, [regarding the] Tibetan culture, our basic aim of the struggle is preservation of Tibetan Buddhist culture, that is [a] peaceful culture.

So I thought your support is fit and appropriate. And then Japanese [helped] a lot Chinese, People's Republic of China, [with] economic development. Japan gives loan and also some help, investment for Chinese development. That is, physical development or material development. In that respect Japan [has] done a lot.

Now the time has come: Japan, as a close friend of China, as Tibetans see it, if you are a close friend, it is important to make clear your friend's mistake. I think the Chinese people, and also the Chinese government always say [China is a] peace-loving nation. [For] a genuine peace-loving nation, in order to be a peace-loving nation, just words [are] not sufficient.

Actions should prove that they are peace-loving nation. Some of [the Chinese] government's policy [that is] ruthless and repressive is actually bad for China, [if it wants] to be a superpower. More...respect from the rest of the world is essential. For that reason, some Chinese policy needs correction. So the Japanese prime minister's [comments were] helpful to make clear some mistakes, [some] wrong policy carried out by the Chinese government, [which is] in the long run harmful for the image of China.

The Yomiuri Shimbun: Do you mean Prime Minister [Yasuo] Fukuda's remarks to Hu Jintao?

Dalai Lama: That's right. He expressed his concerns about the Tibet crisis. Even I heard [that the fact that] the prime minister mentioned the Tibet issue [is] now already becoming [an] international issue. It's fact, reality, now make it clear, express the reality--I think it is good.

The Yomiuri Shimbun: Are you going to visit Japan?

Dalai Lama: From time to time and also last year I visited [Japan], and in recent years have visited more often. It is very clear, [seeing] the interest of Japanese, particularly that of the younger generation, growing and also interest showed by Japanese Buddhist monks, that [of] the Buddhist community also [is] growing. So I always, from my first visit to Japan, that was in 1967, [said that] Japan has the ability and opportunity to combine traditional values and modern values. I think Japanese people generally wear suits while you are working, and in the home traditional sorts of [clothes]. And Shintoism and Buddhism [are] an important part of Japanese culture.

And [in the] meantime, modern technology, modern science [are] highly developed. So that is my first impression. So it seems now because of some difficulties with the economy, [which is] stagnant and at a standstill, not [experiencing] rapid...growth, that also, I think, provides an opportunity to look at our traditional values, that means inner values, not money, money, not yen, yen, yen. That is my impression: [that there is] now a growing interest [in this way of thinking]. This, I think, is a sign of maturity.

And I think the suicide rate among students, young generation [is] quite alarmingly high. And many students...are really depressed. These are clearly showing that [the] inner values [of Japanese] are not adequate.

The Yomiuri Shimbun: Are you recognizing a growing interest in inner values among the young generation of Japanese?

Dalai Lama: Yes. It seems that it is growing. That is positive, it is [a] healthy sign--very good.

Most probably at the end of this year, around November, I may go to Japan, because I have been invited, and I have time.
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