Japan-Belgium Foreign Ministers' Meeting
June 12, 2012
On Tuesday, June 12, Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held a foreign ministers' meeting with H.E. Mr. Didier Reynders, Federal Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs of the Kingdom of Belgium, who was visiting Japan, from 7 PM for approximately 35 minutes. An overview of the meeting is as follows:
Foreign Minister Gemba welcomed the visit to Japan by Minister Reynders and by Their Royal Highnesses Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of the Kingdom of Belgium, and their economic mission, and stated that on this occasion, he would like to further strengthen bilateral relations. Foreign Minister Gemba also stated that, as many Japanese enterprises had advanced into Belgium and set up their headquarters for operation in Europe, Belgium has become an important economic base for Japan in Europe. While expressing his gratitude for Belgium's efforts in preparation of an investment environment, Foreign Minister Gemba requested further efforts for improvement.
In response, Minister Reynders stated that although the current mission mainly comprises people of the business circle, there are also people in the fields of education and research; that he expected that Japan-Belgium relations would be further enhanced on the occasion of the current visit; that he was impressed by the Japanese people who have achieved restoration after the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred last year; and that Belgium would be able to cooperate with Japan in the field of decontamination of the soil.
- Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)
Minister Reynders, stated that he expected progress in terms of the Japanese side's non-tariff measures and the participation of European enterprises in government procurement, that he supported the Japan-EU EPA and that he had stated his support on occasions such as the Council of European Union. In response, Foreign Minister Gemba requested cooperation from the Belgium side for the launch of negotiation for the Japan-EU EPA, and stated that he would like to solve the problems of non-tariff measures and government procurement during the negotiation.
- European debt crisis
Foreign Minister Gemba expressed his concerns with the influence of the European debt crisis over Japan before the re-run election in Greece, and stated that Japan had cooperated for a solution for the crisis by purchasing European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) bonds and by contributing to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In response, Minister Reynders expressed his gratitude for Japan's purchase of the EFSF bonds and contribution to the IMF, and stated that European countries need financial reconstruction and strengthening of their competitiveness, that Greece's departure from the Euro might lead to a catastrophe, and that for the stability of the European economy, further deepening of the union of European nations, including financial policies, is required.
Foreign Minister Gemba stated that toward the Tokyo Conference in July, it would be important for the international community to appropriately provide funding to the development programs for which priorities have been set, while keeping an eye on the efforts toward improvement of governance by Afghanistan. Then, Minister Reynders stated that although military roles by Belgium would be completed, the Government of Belgium would continue financial support for the restoration of Afghanistan even after the year 2014.
Both ministers shared concerns over the situations in Syria, and shared views that it is truce that must be realized through the involvement of the international community and that for that purpose, Syria's Friends Conference in France will be important.
- (*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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