Courtesy Call on Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Mr. Koichiro Gemba by Ms. Pia Olsen Dyhr, Danish Minister for Trade and Investment
February 21, 2012
On Tuesday, February 21, commencing at 5:00 p.m. for around 40 minutes, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Mr. Koichiro Gemba received a courtesy call from Ms. Pia Olsen Dyhr, Danish Minister for Trade and Investment, who is visiting Japan, and they exchanged views. The outline of the meeting is as follows:
- Opening statements
(1)Minister Gemba began by warmly welcoming Minister Dyhr’s first visit to Japan, and expressed his gratitude for the support Japan received from Denmark after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Minister Gemba also indicated that he wanted to coordinate closely with Minister Dyhr toward an early launch of negotiations on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), as she is the Minister for Trade and Investment for Denmark, the EU Presidency holder for the first half of this year. Additionally, regarding food safety, Minister Gemba stated that Japan had dealt strictly with issues of food safety and that the U.S. adopted the same standards as Japan, and in that context, Europe’s standards were extremely strict. Minister Gemba stated based on Japan’s circumstances, he hoped strongly that the EU would ease its import restrictions from a scientific standpoint.
(2)In response, Minister Dyhr offered her deepest condolences to the Japanese people regarding the earthquake disaster in March 2011, and stated that Denmark shared values with Japan, and as a friend of Japan, it wanted to cooperate toward an early launch of the Japan-EU EPA negotiations during its term as the EU Presidency holder. With regard to food safety, Minister Dyhr stated she realized that relaxing restrictions on food imports was important to Japan, but noted that ensuring the safety of food for consumers was also vital. Minister Dyhr mentioned that the European Commission was now revisiting the current import restriction measures of the EU, and that she wanted to consider the issue based on the outcome of the reevaluation.
- European Debt Crisis
(1)With regard to the European debt crisis, Minister Gemba stated that Japan had been collaborating with Europe through its purchase of EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility) bonds, etc. on the basis that the response was primarily required from the respective European countries.
(2)In response, Minister Dyhr expressed her gratitude for Japan’s contribution, and noted that European leaders had just agreed on bailout for Greece on Monday, February 20. Minister Dyhr stated that Europe itself would also continue its efforts to resolve the crisis.
- Japan-EU EPA and political agreement
(1)Minister Gemba stated Japan was pursuing high-level economic partnerships in a strategic and multifaceted manner with both the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Japan-China-South Korea framework, and would also aim for a high level of economic partnership with the EU. Minister Gemba stated the EPA would be beneficial to both sides and that Japan wanted to strive to launch negotiations at an early stage. In addition, Minister Gemba stated that same as the EPA, Japan also put priority on a political agreement with the EU, and wanted to launch negotiations promptly.
(2)Minister Dyhr responded that it would be important for the work on both agreements to move forward in parallel, and that she wanted to cooperate with Japan so that negotiations on both agreements could launch during Denmark’s term as the EU Presidency holder.
- (*The foregoing is a provisional translation. The date indicated above denotes the date of issue of the original press release in Japanese.)
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