Japan-Panama Relations

February 23, 2024
Foreign Minister Kamikawa shaking hands with H.E. Mr. Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, President of the Republic of Panama
President Cortizo and Minister Kamikawa hold up a gift side by side in front of the flags of both countries
Photo of the meeting

On February 23, commencing at 10:00 a.m. (local time; February 24, 00:00 a.m. JST) for approximately 45 minutes, Ms. KAMIKAWA Yoko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, who is visiting the Republic of Panama, paid a courtesy call on H.E. Mr. Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, President of the Republic of Panama. The overview of the courtesy call is as follows.

  1. At the outset, Foreign Minister Kamikawa stated that she was honored to visit Panama on the 120th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Panama, and that she would like to strengthen the traditional bilateral relationship between the two countries with shared values and principles. She also expressed her desire to strengthen cooperation in areas such as the ocean and women, which are focus areas for both countries. President Cortizo shared his memories of his visit to Japan to attend the Enthronement Ceremony of the Emperor in 2019, stressing that the visit was a special occasion, and welcomed Minister Kamikawa's visit to Panama, expressing his desire to strengthen cooperation in a wide range of areas. He also expressed his congratulations on the Emperor's Birthday, which coincided with the date of this courtesy call.
  2. Minister Kamikawa stated that she would like to take the opportunity of this anniversary to strengthen future bilateral relations, referring to the grand opening of the 120th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Panama this year including exchange of messages between both leaders, the decision to introduce visa waiver measures for nationals of the Republic of Panama for short-term stay in Japan, and the progress of the Panama City Urban Transportation Line-3 Project. President Cortizo expressed his gratitude for Japan's cooperation concerning the decision on visa waiver and the various Japanese cooperation to date by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and others, including the Panama City Urban Transportation Line-3 Project, and stated that he would like to further strengthen bilateral relations.
  3. Minister Kamikawa explained that Japan is a major user of the Panama Canal, and expressed her desire to cooperate with other maritime nations in maintaining and developing a "free and open ocean", including the rule of law in the ocean and ensuring a safe and stable environment for the safe use of the canal as an international public good. President Cortizo responded saying that he would very much like to work with Japan on this aspect and that Japan can rest reassured in this regard.
  4. Minister Kamikawa highlighted the concept and significance of WPS (Women, Peace and Security) and referred to the establishment of the Ministry of Women in Panama, and bilateral cooperation with Japan such as the participation of officers of former Nacional Women’s Institute of Panama in JICA's training on gender mainstreaming policies and empowering women through business. Minister Kamikawa also conveyed to President Cortizo Japan’s decision to contribute to three Central American countries, including Panama, to protect migrant women in Central America through UN Women and to promote social cohesion through conflict prevention as part of the WPS. In response, President Cortizo expressed his appreciation for Japan’s cooperation and his expectation for further cooperation, stating that he shared the recognition of the significance of the WPS. They exchanged views on specific efforts on both countries regarding the activities and promotion of women, and further cooperation was confirmed. In addition, President Cortizo pointed out the importance of humanitarian care for Central American migrants, and Minister Kamikawa introduced that Japan, in cooperation with international organizations and Mexico, has been working on concrete projects to tackle Central American migration challenges.
  5. President Cortizo expressed his condolences and solidarity of the government and people of Panama for the victims of the Noto Peninsula Earthquake occurred at the beginning of this year. Minister Kamikawa expressed her gratitude and presented a Wajima-nuri lacquerware pen to President Cortizo in the hope of the recovery of the affected areas. President Cortizo also presented the bonds of the Panama Canal Company for presentation, stating that Japan accounts for 14.5% of the Panama Canal's traffic.
  6. The courtesy call was attended by H.E. Ms. Yill del Carmen Otero Guevara, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs (Vice minister of Multilateral Affairs and Internacional Cooperation) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama)of the Republic of Panama, H.E. Mr. Vladimir Adolfo Franco Sousa, Viceminister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama; and H. E. Mr. Carlos Peré, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Panama to Japan.
(Reference) Assistance to tackle the Migrant Crisis in Central America through UN Women to address gender-related protection needs and to strengthen Social Cohesion

The aim of this assistance is to provide protection services with gender-consideration to 20,000 migrant women in Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras, such as GBV care, and to strengthen gender responsiveness in social cohesion; aiming at preventing conflicts, through programs involving host communities and 3,500 migrant men and women.

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