Japan-Iran Relations

September 21, 2016
(Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)
(Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)

On September 21, from 5:40 p.m. for approximately 40 minutes, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, held a summit meeting with H.E. Dr. Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The overview of the meeting is as follows.

1. At the beginning, President Rouhani stated that he was pleased to exchange views regularly on the occasion of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), and hopes further deepening Iran’s relationship with Japan. Prime Minister Abe replied that he appreciated the implementation of the nuclear agreement by Iran, and that he placed importance on its continued implementation. He also welcomed that Japan’s relationship with Iran, a major regime power in the Middle East, has been advancing in various fields following the “Implementation Day” of the nuclear agreement in January this year.

In addition, Prime Minister Abe expressed his respect for President Rouhani as he works to engage with the international community in order to develop constructive relationship between Iran and the international community.

2. With regard to bilateral relations, President Rouhani started the discussion with stating that he hoped to further expand economic, trade and investment relation. Prime Minister Abe replied that Japan is making utmost efforts to strengthen cooperation with Iran, including establishing a 10 billion dollar financing facility, securing Diet approval for the Japan-Iran Investment Agreement and forming an electricity-related project using yen loan for the first time in 20 years. Prime Minister Abe stated that he intended to realize full-fledged business activities and encouraged the Iranian side to make further efforts, such as improving business environment in Iran.

Additionally, Prime Minister Abe stated that cooperation between Japan and Iran has been steadily advanced in the environmental, medical, transportation and nuclear safety fields, including Japan’s financial contribution to the Lake Urmia restoration project, holding high-level dialogues between transportation authorities, and coordination towards training programs in areas including nuclear safety. Prime Minister Abe stated that the implementation of the nuclear agreement formed the basis for such cooperation, and reiterated that he strongly hoped Iran to continue implementing the agreement. President Rouhani replied that the lifting of sanctions following the “Implementation Day” of the nuclear agreement created the conditions conducive to strengthening the bilateral relationship and stated that he hoped to explore together how best Iran should further expand its relations with Japan in the long term.

3. Prime Minister Abe and President Rouhani also exchanged views on regional affairs. Prime Minister Abe requested that Iran sever ties with North Korea in military cooperation, and stated that he hoped to jointly issue a message towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Prime Minister Abe also requested understanding and cooperation of Iran for prompt resolution of the abductions issue. In response, President Rouhani expressed the view that development of weapons of mass destruction would not contribute to stability in any part of the world, and that he supported the denuclearization process. He further stated that he condemned abductions of any form as an inhumane act.

In the course of discussion on the situation in the Middle East, Prime Minister Abe encouraged Iran to play a more constructive role in stabilizing the Middle East and to have dialogue with Saudi Arabia. President Rouhani replied that Iran performed an important role in the fight against ISIL, and did not desire tensions with Saudi Arabia.

4. During the meeting President Rouhani once again offered invitation for Prime Minister Abe to Iran, and Prime Minister Abe in response expressed his gratitude for the successive invitations and stated that he hoped to take opportunities to visit Iran at an appropriate timing.

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