Japan-Panama Foreign Ministers' Meeting
October 22, 2012
On Monday, October 22, from 3:00 pm for about 35 minutes, Minister for Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba held a signing ceremony for the Memorandum on Political Consultations between Japan and Panama, with H.E. Mr. Rómulo Roux, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama, who is accompanying H.E. Mr. Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, President of the Republic of Panama on his working visit to Japan. Following the signing ceremony, both Ministers held a meeting. An overview of the meeting is as follows:
- Minister Gemba began by stating that Japan has the highest number of seafaring vessels sailing under the Panamanian flag than any country and is the fourth highest user of the Panama Canal. Minister Gemba also stated that Japan and Panama have been maintaining a close relationship in maritime traffic and trade, and that Japan therefore has a strong interest in Panamanian infrastructure and mineral resources development. The Minister then went on to express his gratitude for the Panamanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ initiative to construct a Japanese garden to commemorate the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake. In response, Minister Roux stated that Panama values its relationship with Japan, one of the principal users of the Panama Canal and a major operator of vessels flying the Panamanian flag, affirming that he would like to further strengthen this relationship.
- (1) Minister Roux referred to the Panamanian Government's infrastructure investment plan, expressing his expectation of the participation of Japanese corporations in the project for construction of Line-3 of the Panama Metro, an urban public transportation plan in Panama. . In response, Minister Gemba stated that Japanese corporations are currently conducting feasibility studies on the project and that he hoped Japan's advanced monorail technology would be utilized.
(2) Minister Gemba said that he hoped that the yen loan aid to Panama for the Panama City and Panama Bay Sanitation Project, which is due to be completed in January 2013, would contribute to the improvement of sanitary environment in Panama. Minister Roux expressed his gratitude for this assistance.
- (1) Minister Gemba stated that, given the deadlock of the reform of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, it is important to deal with the reform with a realistic and flexible attitude. He also said that Japan wished to have productive dialogue with Panama to achieve reform as soon as possible. In response, Minister Roux emphasized the necessity of the reform and pointed out the importance of continuing dialogue with UN member countries.
- In addition to the above, both sides exchanged their opinions on Japan-Central America relations including the Japan-SICA Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation. Minister Gemba also explained Japan's position concerning current Japan-China relations.
(2) Minister Gemba said that Japan is interested in enhancing its relationship with the Pacific Alliance. In response, Minister Roux commented that as an observer nation of the Alliance, Panama is closely observing its development, as a possible gateway to large markets. He also stated that Panama is consulting with the relevant countries in order to become an official member of the Alliance.
- (*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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