Japan-Bulgaria Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
August 13, 2019
On August 13, commencing at 10:40 a.m. (local time; same day, 4:40 p.m. JST) for approximately 70 minutes, Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, held a meeting with H.E. Ms. Ekaterina Zaharieva, Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria, in Sofia, the Republic of Bulgaria. The overview of the meeting is as follows.
- At the beginning, Minister Kono expressed his pleasure that reciprocal visits by the foreign ministers could be realized on this milestone year of the “Three anniversaries” between Japan and Bulgaria. Minister Kono stated that Japan intends to promote cooperation with Bulgaria, an important partner which shares fundamental values with Japan and supports the stability of the Balkan region, and, together with Bulgaria, engage in initiatives for the stability and development of the region. In response, Minister Zaharieva welcomed the first visit in 12 years by a Japanese Foreign Minister to Bulgaria. Minister Zaharieva stated that high-level visits between the two countries have continued since Prime Minister Abe visited Bulgaria, and looked forward to Minister Kono’s return to Bulgaria.
- The ministers confirmed that the two countries will promote public-private information exchanges through the Japan Business Forum regarding such sectors as IT, manufacturing, and food products, noting that there was room for further expansion of economic cooperation. In addition, the ministers confirmed further cooperation on the Bulgaria Business Seminar to be held in Japan in September. Minister Kono expected that trade relations between Japan and Bulgaria will expand due to the entry into force of the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in February 2019.
- The ministers welcomed the concrete progress made in Japan-Bulgaria cooperation under the Western Balkans Cooperation Initiative, namely, cooperation on disaster risk reduction among Western Balkan countries and cooperation on revitalizing small and medium enterprises in North Macedonia. To sustain such partnerships, the ministers agreed that a Bulgarian mission will visit Japan to continue the discussions on concrete cooperation.
- The ministers exchanged opinions regarding North Korean affairs and other matters, and shared the view to continue close coordination towards complete denuclearization of North Korea. In addition, Minister Zaharieva stated that Bulgaria will spare no effort to cooperate on the abductions issue. The ministers also confirmed collaboration on the establishment of the rule of law at sea in view of the East and South China Seas.
【Reference】The “Three anniversaries” between Japan and Bulgaria
2019 is a year in which “Three anniversaries” between Japan and Bulgaria overlap: the 110th anniversary of the beginning of bilateral contacts, the 80th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, and the 60th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations.