Japan-Sweden Relations

January 10, 2024
Photo session before the Japan-Sweden Foreign Ministers’ Working Lunch
(Photo) Japan-Sweden Foreign Ministers’ Working Lunch

On January 10, commencing at 12:00 p.m. (8:00 p.m. on January 10, Japan time), for approximately 90 minutes, Ms. KAMIKAWA Yoko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, who was visiting the Kingdom of Sweden, held working lunch with H.E. Mr. Tobias BILLSTRÖM, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Sweden, for the first time between the two Ministers. The overview is as follows.

  1. At the outset, Minister Kamikawa stated that she was pleased to be able to visit Stockholm to meet with Foreign Minister Billström, following the telephone talk last month, and also expressed her gratitude for receiving words of sympathy regarding the Noto Peninsula Earthquake. Minister Kamikawa also welcomed the progress of cooperation between Japan and Sweden in many fields, including security, based on bilateral friendly relations, and stated that she would like to strengthen cooperation with the Nordic countries, which share values and have a high level of communication in important diplomatic fields such as gender including WPS and the Arctic. In response, Foreign Minister Billström welcomed Minister Kamikawa's visit to Sweden, and stated that Japan and Sweden have built strong relations in a wide range of fields, including politics, economy, and culture, and that he hopes to further strengthen good bilateral relations in various fields. Foreign Minister Billström expressed the Government of Sweden’s priority to deepen the bilateral relationship with Japan, a likeminded friend and partner and there is much to build on following Prime Minister Kristersson’s meeting with Prime Minister Kishida in 2023, including cooperation on security, defense, and economic issues.
  2. Minister Kamikawa pointed out that, in order for the world to enjoy peace and prosperity in the future, cooperation among like-minded countries is more important than ever as the free and open international order based on rule of law is being shaken, and expressed Japan’s support for Sweden's decision to apply for NATO membership. In response, Foreign Minister Billström stated that Sweden would like to contribute to strengthening European security through its membership in NATO, and welcomed Japan's strengthening of relations with NATO and would like to contribute to strengthening relations between NATO and Japan as well as IP4. In addition, the two Ministers shared the view that the two countries, which possess advanced technological capabilities, will deepen cooperation in economic and scientific fields such as GX, hydrogen, life sciences, space, and further develop cooperation in the field of science and technology. In addition, Minister Kamikawa welcomed Sweden's participation in the Expo 2025 Osaka-Kansai and expressed her hope that it would create further business opportunities for companies in both countries.
  3. Minister Kamikawa stated that the five Nordic countries, with which Japan shares values and principles, are highly interconnected region, and that Japan would like to deepen cooperation not only bilaterally but also in the framework of Japan and the Nordic countries. Minister Kamikawa stated that Japan would like to promote cooperation with the five Nordic countries including under “Japan’s Nordic Diplomacy Initiative,” focusing for instance on the four areas of common interest of Japan and the five Nordic countries: (1) the Arctic and Ocean, (2) Gender equality including WPS, (3) Strengthening economic relations, including Green, Digital and Science & Technology, and (4) Security and Defense Cooperation. Foreign Minister Billström expressed appreciation for the intent to strengthen Japan-Nordic Cooperation, illustrated in the Japan’s Nordic Diplomacy Initiative, and stated that the areas covered by the initiative were of mutual interest.
  4. Furthermore, the two Ministers also exchanged views on the situation in the Middle East, Russia's aggression against Ukraine, and the situation in East Asia, and confirmed that they would work closely together, including in responding to North Korea on the nuclear and missile issues as well as the abductions issue. The two Ministers also exchanged views on strengthening the functions of the United Nations, including UN Security Council reform, and cooperation on global issues, including nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and human rights.

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