Second “Visegrad Group plus Japan” Summit Meeting
On Thursday, October 18, local time, commencing at 4:35 p.m. for approximately 50 minutes, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, during his visit to Belgium to attend the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit Meeting, attended the second Visegrad Group (V4) plus Japan Summit Meeting. The overview of the meeting is as follows (the V4 was represented by Mr. Peter Pellegrini, Prime Minister of Slovakia [the holder of V4 Presidency], Mr. Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr. Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of Poland, and Dr. Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary).
1. Opening Remarks
Prime Minister Pellegrini of Slovakia, which holds the V4 presidency, congratulated Prime Minister Abe on his reelection as President of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan. Prime Minister Pellegrini stated that given the international and regional issues emerging since the previous V4 plus Japan Summit Meeting (2013), V4 was committed to expanding the cooperation between the V4 and Japan, which share universal values such as human rights and democracy.
2. Outcomes and Prospects of V4 plus Japan Cooperation
(1) Prime Minister Abe and the leaders of the V4 countries welcomed the holding of the first summit meeting in five years, and expressed their intention to continue to strengthen the cooperation under the V4 plus Japan framework as partners sharing universal values.
(2) In the area of science and technology—one of the pillars of the V4 plus Japan cooperation, Prime Minister Abe stated that joint research projects were successfully carried out between Japanese universities and research institutes in V4 countries, with the support of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). The Prime Minister noted that in light of the need in this field and the success of the joint research, the Government of Japan will explore the possibility of launching a new call in a joint project. In addition, the leaders of the V4 countries valued Japan’s “Western Balkans Cooperation Initiative”. Both sides welcomed the progress of the assistance provided to an elementary school in Bosnia and Herzegovina through the V4 plus Japan cooperation.
(3) Regarding the future prospects, Prime Minister Abe said he hopes to continue to hold political dialogues and discuss cooperation in areas such as expansion of tourism and people-to-people exchanges, disaster risk reduction, and the environment.
(4) In response, the leaders of the V4 countries mentioned that the V4 hopes to expand cooperation in such areas as science and technology and economic cooperation in the West Balkans.
3. Japan-EU relations
Prime Minister Abe and the leaders of the V4 countries confirmed cooperation towards the early entry into force of the Japan-European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed in July. With regard to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, Prime Minister Abe stated that he strongly expects the negotiations to reach an agreement that avoids a no-deal exit, and that following the exit, he expects the United Kingdom and the EU to continue to proactively address the issues facing the international community.
4. Global Challenges
(1) With regard to North Korean situation, Prime Minister Abe and the leaders of the V4 countries shared the view on the need for full implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Prime Minister Abe requested understanding and cooperation for the resolution of the abductions issue at the earliest possible date and obtained the understanding of the V4.
(2) Prime Minister Abe noted that security in Asia and Europe is interlinked and advocated cooperation with European countries, including the V4 countries, towards the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
(3) Prime Minister Abe and the leaders of the V4 countries confirmed their respect for the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine and support for the resolution of the issues in accordance with the Minsk Agreements.
(4) Prime Minister Abe stated that it was important to maintain interest at high-level and build up momentum for UNSC reform, and that Japan will continue to work closely with the V4 on this matter. The V4 stated that it supports the efforts of Japan.
(Note) V4: A regional cooperation framework consisting of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. It was founded in Visegrad in Hungary in 1991. It holds dialogues at the leader, foreign minister, and senior working levels and promotes V4 plus Japan cooperation in a wide range of areas, such as science and technology, assistance to third countries, disaster risk reduction, and the environment.