Japan EU Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (Overview)
On Wednesday, January 22, from 12:00 p.m. local time for around 20 minutes, Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, who is visiting Switzerland to attend the Geneva II, held a meeting with Ms. Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission. An overview of the meeting is as follows.1.Japan-EU Relations
Foreign Minister Kishida said that Japan and the EU closely collaborated on various issues including Iran’s nuclear program last year, and Japan continues to work closely with the EU to tackle international challenges. He also expressed his will to work on steady implementation of what both sides agreed at the last Japan-EU Summit, including cooperation for early conclusion of a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) and an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). In response, High Representative Ashton said that the EU would like to continue close cooperation on various agendas with Japan.2.Regional affairs
Foreign Minister Kishida said that cessation of violence, promotion of political dialogue and improvement in appalling humanitarian situations are imminent challenges. He explained that Japan had pledged a total of $400 million humanitarian assistance for Syria, including additional $120 million, and further said that Japan would like to contribute to the humanitarian assistance and the political dialogue with firm determination and sense of responsibility. High Representative Ashton expressed her gratitude and respect to Japan for significant assistance to people of Syria and neighboring countries and welcomed Japan’s efforts with strong commitment on this matter.
Foreign Minister Kishida welcomed the agreement on Iranian nuclear program and appreciated the leadership by High Representative Ashton in this regard. In response, High Representative Ashton expressed gratitude for Japan’s cooperation. Foreign Minister Kishida said that start of the first phase of the agreement on January 20 is welcoming but what is essential is consistent implementation. He expressed his hope that further efforts should be made to reach an agreement on measures of the final step. High Representative Ashton shared the same recognition. Moreover, Foreign Minister Kishida explained Japan’s intention to play role not only in implementing the agreed measures of the first phase but also in making an agreement on and implementing measures of the final step, while monitoring implementation by Iran. Foreign Minister Kishida expressed his determination to continue to work on Iran and closely cooperate with the EU. In response, High Representative Ashton welcomed such efforts by Japan. Both affirmed to continue cooperating closely on Iran’s issue between Japan and the EU.
Foreign Minister Kishida and High Representative Ashton exchanged views on regional situations including East Asia.