Japan-Italy Relations

October 16, 2014
Photo (Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)
 On October 16, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during his visit to Milan to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) 10, held a Japan-Italy Summit Meeting with the President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic, Mr. Matteo Renzi. The overview is as follows. (The meeting was also attended by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko, among others).

1. Bilateral relations

  • (1) At the beginning, Prime Minister Abe told President Renzi that he wants to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in the economic field via the Japan-European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and other initiatives, and wants to further strengthen bilateral relations by deepening cooperation toward the success of Milan EXPO next year and 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Italy in 2016.
  • (2) In response, President Renzi stated he is extremely happy to be able to hold a Summit Meeting for the third time this year, following the meetings held in The Hague in March and in Rome in June, and that he wants to discuss the various topics discussed at the Summit Meetings thus far, including the Milan EXPO, food and sustainable development. Additionally, President Renzi mentioned he intends to expedite the Italian side’s ratification procedure for the Agreement between Japan and the Italy on Social Security, and Italy attaches great importance to Japan as a trading partner.

Japan-EU EPA, coal-fired thermal power, World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

 Prime Minister Abe explained that Japan and the EU are global partners that share fundamental values, and he wants to deepen cooperation with Italy, currently President of the Council of the EU, and hopes to cooperate on picking up the pace of negotiations with the goal of reaching an agreement in principle on the Japan-EU EPA in 2015. He stated concluding the Japan-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) promptly is also very important. In addition, Prime Minister Abe announced he is keen to obtain high-level participation from Italy in the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction to be held in Sendai in March next year, and that he wants to make the Conference a success.

3. Situation in Ukraine

  • (1) Prime Minister Abe stated he wants to contribute to international efforts to achieve peace in connection with the Russia-Ukraine problem.
  • (2) President Renzi replied that the peace process needs to be consolidated and he demonstrated the recognition of the need to bring Russian President Vladimir Putin back into the international community and to work together.
  • (3) Prime Minister Abe responded he shares President Renzi’s recognition that dialogue with President Putin is important, and expressed the expectation that the EU will contribute to advancing the Ukraine-Russia problem towards a resolution.

4. Ebola virus disease

  • (1) President Renzi expressed his recognition that the Ebola virus disease is a problem requiring urgent attention, and explained that he held telephone talks with U.S. President Barack Obama, French President François Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron regarding this problem.
  • (2) Prime Minister Abe replied that it will be important for countries to respond to the Ebola virus disease in a unified manner, and explained that Japan has already begun implementing 40 million USD of assistance and intends to cooperate with the international community through the provision of candidate drugs developed by Japanese companies and the provision of resources such as protective clothing.

5. Japan-Italy defense cooperation

  • (1) President Renzi stated that Japan-Italy defense cooperation is extremely important, and he wants to move that cooperation forward.
  • (2) In response, Prime Minister Abe concurred with President Renzi’s proposal and expressed that he will ask officials to consider concrete cooperation.

6. Concluding remarks

  • (1) At the end of the meeting Prime Minister Abe asked President Renzi to visit Japan next year.
  • (2) President Renzi replied he wants to arrange a concrete schedule for visiting Japan. He asked Prime Minister Abe to visit Italian cities that Prime Minister Abe has not visited thus far and added he wants to personally show Prime Minister Abe around next time.

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