Japan-France Summit Meeting
On May 5, commencing at 10:15 a.m. for approximately one hour and 15 minutes, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a Japan-France Summit Meeting with H.E. Mr. Francois Hollande, President of French Republic, at the Elysee palace. An overview of the meeting is as follows. (Attending on the France side were Prime Minister Mr. Manuel Valls, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Laurent Fabius and Minister of Economy Mr. Arnaud Montebourg, among others. Attending on the Japan side was Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, among others). Following the meeting, a “Japan-France Joint Press Release (outline (PDF) / Japanese (PDF) / French (PDF))” and a “Press Release on Crisis Management Cooperation Between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Japanese (PDF) / French (PDF))” were released.
1. Opening remarks
Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan and France share fundamental values and are countries jointly engaged in the various challenges facing the international community, and amid the increasing acute of the global security environment, the need for cooperation between the two countries is increasing more than ever. In response, President Hollande replied when he visited Japan last year he was received by a large number of high-ranking government officials and determined to advance the Japan-France bilateral relationship. He stated various initiatives have been undertaken since then and he is overjoyed with the magnificent results that are emerging in all fields, including politics and security, economy and culture.
2. Politics and security
- (1) Prime Minister Abe explained the policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace,” which was welcomed and supported by President Hollande. Prime Minister Abe also told that ensuring freedom and safety of navigation and overflight at high seas is a challenge shared by the international community, and explained that an emphasis on maritime security and the anti-piracy measures carried out via a Japan-France partnership in January were significant to Japan-France cooperation, and the two leaders shared this recognition.
- (2) The two leaders shared recognition that the Japan-France Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting in January substantially advanced bilateral relations. They also shared the view that negotiations on an agreement on defense equipment cooperation will be initiated.
- (3) Prime Minister Abe explained his experience of Africa’s rapid progress witnessing a dynamic Africa during his visit to Africa in January, and stated that the Government of Japan is scheduled to newly provide 1.9 million USD of assistance in order to develop human resources via PKO centers, and has decided to contribute 500,000 USD of that amount to the Peace Keeping School (Ecole de Maintien de la Paix) (EMP) in Mali. President Hollande praised this contribution by Japan, and the two leaders shared the view that they will cooperate on areas such as human resources development for peace keeping.
- (4) Prime Minister Abe said France is a “friend of the Pacific” that has territories in the Pacific Ocean such as New Caledonia, and the Government of Japan welcomes the strengthening of France’s contribution to the Asia-Pacific region.
- (1) The two leaders shared the view that innovation is important to economic growth, and in a signing ceremony held immediately after the meeting, a general arrangement was signed on cooperation to develop fast reactor technologies, including ASTRID, a new highly-safe nuclear reactor design. Additionally, a memorandum on research and development cooperation on high-performance fiber was also signed.
- (2) The two leaders expressed the expectation that bilateral economic relations will strengthen further as a result of purchases of Airbus aircraft by Japanese airline companies.
- (3) Prime Minister Abe said economic cooperation with Europe is an important pillar of Japan’s economic growth and the expectation from the industrial community is also high. The two leaders shared the view that they will aim to conclude the Japan-European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as promptly as possible.
4. Advancement of women
Prime Minister Abe said he wants Japan and France to learn each other’s policies for attaining a “society in which women shine,” and requested France’s cooperation on an international symposium on women that is scheduled to be held in Japan in September. President Hollande readily concurred.
5. Cultural and sports exchanges
A convention on mutual recognition of degrees at higher education institutions was signed immediately after the meeting in order to strengthen exchanges between students. And the two leaders shared the view that judo practitioners from Japan and France will be dispatched to Israel and Palestine. Additionally, the two leaders shared the view that they will cooperate in the run-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
6. Regional affairs
- (1) Ukraine
- The two leaders shared recognition that support is needed to achieve stability in Ukraine, and Prime Minister Abe explained that the Government of Japan recently decided to newly contribute 300,000 euros to the Council of Europe’s emergency support for the restoration of democracy in Ukraine and 500,000 euros to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine in order to promote national dialogue and integration. Additionally, the two leaders shared the recognition that the peaceful and democratic implementation of the Ukrainian presidential election scheduled for May 25 is important, and affirmed continued cooperation toward stability through dialogue.
- (2) Situation in East Asia
- The two leaders also exchanged views on the situation in East Asia, and in particular with regard to North Korea they shared the view that they will continue to cooperate to resolve the problems, including the abduction issue.