Japan-Belgium Relations

May 3, 2016
(Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)
(Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)

On May 3 from noon for around 50 minutes, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, during his visit to Brussels, met with H.E. Mr. Charles Michel, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium. The overview of the meeting is as follows.

(Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)

1. Opening remarks

(Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)

(1) Prime Minister Michel welcomed the visit of Prime Minister Abe this year on the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, noted that many Japanese companies are active in Belgium, and commented that he hoped to use this occasion to further reinforce bilateral relations.

(2) In response, Prime Minister Abe expressed his condolences for the victims of the terrorist attacks in Brussels in March as well as for their families, and reconfirmed Japan’s solidarity with Belgium. He also thanked Prime Minister Michel for his solidarity and sympathy regarding the earthquake in Kumamoto Prefecture last month. He stated that Japan would like to jointly celebrate the 150th anniversary of friendship between Japan and Belgium and also like to strengthen the Japan-Belgium relations in a wide range of areas, including counterterrorism and economy, through summit-level visits.

2. Japan-Belgium relations

(1) Prime Minister Abe requested cooperation of Belgian authorities to ensure safety, including that of Japanese residents, noting events being held for the 150th anniversary of friendship between Japan and BelgiumOpen a New Window. In response, Prime Minister Michel commented that Belgium intended to make efforts for the safety of Japanese people and companies in Belgium.

(2) The two leaders praised achievement of an agreement in principle on revisions of the tax convention between the two countries, and agreed to further deepen bilateral economic ties, including in digital and ICT areas.

3. Fight against terrorism

Prime Minister Abe stated that counterterrorism would be one of the primary themes at the G7 Ise-Shima Summit and that Japan hoped the G7 nations would issue a strong message. He also explained Japan’s initiatives to fight against terrorism. Prime Minister Michel stated that he supports Prime Minister Abe’s initiative at the G7. The two leaders agreed to hold a bilateral consultation on counterterrorism before the end of the year.

4. Japan-EU relations

The two leaders reaffirmed that they would continue their efforts to reach an agreement in principle as soon as possible during this year on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, and achieve an early conclusion of the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) negotiations.

5. Regional situations

(Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)

The two leaders agreed that the Minsk Agreement was the only guidance for improvement of the situation in Ukraine and agreed on the need to continue urging both Ukraine and Russia. They also exchanged opinions on China and the South China Sea situation.

The two leaders also agreed to conduct discussions on cooperation toward the development of Africa, taking into account of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) which would be held in August.

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