Japan-Italy Relations

April 15, 2015
 On Tuesday, April 14, commencing at around 4.45 p.m. local time (around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, Japan time) for approximately 35 minutes, Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, who was visiting Lubeck to attend the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, held a foreign ministers’ meeting for the first time with Mr. Paolo Gentiloni, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Italian Republic. The overview of the meeting is as follows.

1. Bilateral relations

  • (1) The two ministers welcomed the holding of their first foreign ministers’ meeting, confirmed that they will cooperate closely in light of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Italy in 2016, and will deepen cooperation toward the success of the EXPO Milano 2015 opening next month also.
  • (2) Minister Kishida explained Japan’s policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” and the development of seamless security legislation under that policy, and Minister Gentiloni replied that Japan’s heightened presence in the international community serves the common interest by contributing to the peace and stability of the international community.

2. Economy

  • (1) Minister Kishida mentioned a large investment in Finmeccanica SpA’s railway business by Hitachi Ltd., and Minister Gentiloni replied that there is room for further development of economic relations between Japan and Italy, and expanding bidirectional investment between Japan and Italy is also important.
  • (2) Minister Kishida said he wants to accelerate negotiations in order to reach an agreement in principle on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) this year and promptly conclude the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). Minister Gentiloni also voiced support for a prompt conclusion, and the two ministers shared the view that they will continue to cooperate.
  • (3) Minister Kishida requested the relaxation and abolition of the EU's restrictions on imports of food and other products of Fukushima Prefecture.

3. Global challenges

(1) Counterterrorism

 Minister Kishida stated that he is aware Italy is attaching importance to Libya’s stability and border enforcement in particular, and from an international counterterrorism perspective Japan wants to cooperate, including by utilizing passenger name records (PNRs). In response, Minister Gentiloni noted the importance of sharing information and the two countries’ experiences. The two ministers confirmed that they will continue to cooperate on the fight against terrorism.

(2) Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation

 Minister Kishida requested cooperation on the NPT Review Conference, and Minister Gentiloni replied that he appreciates Japan’s initiatives and also wants to discuss the matter in the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting following their meeting.

4. Regional affairs

(1) Ukraine and Russia

 Minister Gentiloni mentioned the importance of fulfilling the Minsk Agreement and of maintaining both sanctions and dialogue, and Minister Kishida noted the importance of supporting Ukraine’s reform efforts, in addition to sanctions and dialogue.

(2) East Asia

 The two ministers exchanged views on the East Asia situation.

5. Other

 The two ministers confirmed that the bilateral relationship will be strengthened further, based also on the fact that Japan is the G7 chair country next year and Italy the year after next. Furthermore, Minister Gentiloni mentioned the possibility of a visit to Japan by Mr. Matteo Renzi, President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic, and this was welcomed by Minister Kishida.

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