Japan-Czech Republic Relations

Japan-Czech Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

January 8, 2017

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 On Sunday, January 8, commencing at 4:30 p.m. (local time) for approximately 70 minutes, Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held a meeting with H.E. Mr. Lubomír Zaorálek, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, in Prague, the Czech Republic, which Minister Kishida is currently visiting, and then, following a press conference, held a working dinner commencing at 6:20 p.m. (local time) for approximately 90 minutes. The overview is as follows.

1. Opening remarks

 Foreign Minister Zaorálek welcomed that Minister Kishida is visiting the Czech Republic this year, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and stated that he hopes to make this an opportunity to further invigorate the bilateral relationship. Additionally, the two ministers confirmed that Japan and the Czech Republic will further advance cooperation bilaterally and in the international arena based on the fact that they share the long tradition and strong foundation of democracy.

2. Bilateral relations

(1) The two ministers concurred that strengthening high-level dialogue is important, and shared the view that they will move ahead with coordinating the schedule for a visit to Japan by H.E. Mr. Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, as requested by the Czech side.
 Foreign Minister Zaorálek explained that Japan is a reliable partner that invests from a long-term viewpoint, and expressed his great appreciation for Japan’s investment in the Czech Republic thus far, and his expectation of further advances in research and development cooperation. Additionally, Minister Kishida welcomed that approximately 240 Japanese companies have created 47,000 jobs in the Czech Republic and are contributing to the Czech economy, and stated that making efforts to develop the environment for corporate activity is an important subject for both governments. Based on that perspective, the two ministers welcomed the agreement between Japan and the Czech Republic to amend the social security agreement between Japan and the Czech Republic.
 Furthermore, the two ministers shared the view that in light of the highly safe nuclear power-related technologies that Japan possesses, significant potential exists for cooperation in the nuclear power field, including nuclear power plant safety improvements and human resources development.

(2) The two ministers welcomed that the Slav Epic, a precious Czech cultural asset, will be exhibited in Japan as the highlight feature of the 60th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations, the first time the work has been exhibited outside the Czech Republic.
 The two ministers also expressed expectation that the 60th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations will provide an opportunity for further deepening private-sector cultural exchanges through Culture Years in both countries, and shared the view that their governments will also cooperate to enliven the anniversary.
 Furthermore, the two ministers welcomed that an agreement in principle was recently reached in the negotiations on a working holiday agreement for promoting exchanges and mutual understanding among the younger generations.

3. Cooperation in the international arena

 The two ministers confirmed that it will be important that Japan and the European Union (EU), as well as Japan and the Visegrad Four Countries(V4) mutually strengthen cooperation in light of the problems the world faces, including challenges to the international order based on the rule of law and mounting protectionism. Additionally, the two ministers concurred on the need to promptly reach agreements in principle on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement and the Japan-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement, and the need for United Nations Security Council reform.

4. Regional affairs

 The two ministers held a broad exchange of views on international affairs, including the situation in East Asia. Amid that, the two ministers fully shared the view that the international community needs to adopt a consistent and resolute response to the unilateral attempts to change the status quo that are occurring in Asia and Europe, and that realizing the rule of law, including freedom of navigation and compliance with international law, is essential to regional peace and stability. The two ministers also exchanged views on North Korea’s nuclear, missile and abductions issue, and Minister Kishida requested the Czech Republic’s cooperation on promptly resolving the abductions issue.