Japan-Cuba Relations

September 23, 2016
(Photo: Alex Castro)
(Photo: Alex Castro)
(Photo: Alex Castro)

On Thursday, September 22, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, had a meeting with H.E. Mr. Fidel Castro Ruz, former President of the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba, at former President Castro’s residence in Havana City. The overview is as follows.

1. Opening remarks

At the beginning, Prime Minister Abe stated that this is the second time he has met former President Castro, having met him previously in New York, and expressed his gratitude at being able to hold this conversation. Prime Minister Abe also congratulated former President Castro on his 90th birthday, which he celebrated in August.

2. Bilateral relations

(1) Prime Minister Abe stated that within the long, 400-year history of friendship between Japan and Cuba, the bilateral relationship progressed substantially as a result of visits to Japan by former President Castro in 1995 and 2003. In addition, Prime Minister Abe recalled that former President Castro visited Hiroshima while in Japan in 2003, and after witnessing the reality of the atomic bombing, dedicated his massage that humanity should never repeat the suffering experienced by Hiroshima. Prime Minister Abe once again thanked former President Castro for this comment, which left a deep impression on the people of Japan and was a powerful message to the international community. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe explained that Japan will support Cuba in fields such as medical care and education, in addition to agriculture and food, which are fields in which former President Castro has a strong interest.

(2) In response, former President Castro welcomed this visit to Cuba by Prime Minister Abe, the first such visit by a sitting Japanese Prime Minister, and explained that he has a great deal of respect for Japan, stating that he is impressed by the contributions Japan makes to the world through its efforts in various fields.

3. North Korea issue and elimination of nuclear weapons

(1) Prime Minister Abe explained that North Korea is repeatedly going ahead with nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, which represents an unprecedented level of threat to the peace and stability of the international community, and he pointed out that a stern response is required. Prime Minister Abe requested Cuba’s cooperation and understanding to promptly resolve the abductions issue.

(2) Former President Castro mentioned the horror of nuclear weapons, and explained that the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are widely talked about in Cuba and the two countries share recognition on realizing a world without nuclear weapons.

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