Japan-Latvia Foreign Ministers' Meeting (Outline)
March 27, 2012
On Tuesday, March 27, commencing at 5:30 p.m. for around 30 minutes, Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, held a meeting with H.E. Mr. Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The overview of the meeting is as follows.
- Bilateral relations
(1) Minister Gemba welcomed Minister Rinkēvičs to Japan, and expressed his gratitude for Latvia's support following the Great East Japan Earthquake, and for Minister Rinkēvičs's attendance at a Reception in Commemoration of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which was held in Riga, the capital city of Latvia. Minister Gemba also acknowledged that corporate representatives are accompanying Minister Rinkēvičs on his visit to Japan, and noted that Latvia is a beautiful country in a strategic transport location, and that it offers strong potential in bilateral relations, as well as on the tourism front.
(2) In response, Minister Rinkēvičs mentioned Latvia's deep sadness over last year's earthquake disaster and said he once again wanted to express his heartfelt condolences. He also said that he hopes his trip to Japan will lead to deeper political and economic dialogue.
- Japan-EU relations
(1) Minister Gemba commented on the European debt crisis and noted that Japan was coordinating with Europe, including through the purchase of EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility) bonds. Minister Gemba also requested Latvia's cooperation toward launching negotiations on a Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) promptly, and with regard to the EU's restrictions on import of foodstuffs, etc. The Minister called for a rational response based on scientific data.
(2) Minister Rinkēvičs replied that he supported the Japan-EU EPA negotiations and that he understood Japan's concerns with regard to harmful rumors and stated that he would share those concerns with other foreign ministers in EU countries.
- The Ministers exchanged views on cooperation in the international arena and the regional situations in Iran, North Korea and elsewhere. Minister Gemba expressed concern over the Iranian nuclear issue, and also explained Japan's position regarding the EU measure on insurance and reinsurance related to transport of Iranian crude oil, and said that Japan would like to continue to cooperate closely with the EU on this issue. With regard to North Korea, Minister Gemba pointed out that North Korea's launch of a missile, which it calls "satellite" would be a clear violation of Security Council Resolutions, and stated that he hoped to work closely with other countries, including Latvia, to strongly urge for North Korea to exercise its restraint. Minister Rinkēvičs replied that he shared the concern over the Iranian nuclear issue, and with regard to the EU's measure, said that he would continue discussions with countries in the EU toward a solution that were acceptable to the countries concerned. Minister Rinkēvičs said that he fully supported Japan's position on North Korea, and that North Korea's actions were unacceptable.
- (*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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