Foreign Minister Motegi Visits Singapore
On August 13, Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, held meetings with the top government officials of the Republic of Singapore. The overview of the meetings is as follows.
1. Japan-Singapore Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
On August 13, commencing at 10:35 a.m. (local time; 11:35 a.m. Japan time) for approximately 2 hours, Minister Motegi held a foreign ministers’ meeting and a working lunch with H.E. Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore.
At the outset, Minister Motegi mentioned that Singapore is the first Asian country to visit after the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began. Minister Balakrishnan welcomed Minister Motegi’s visit.
The two ministers agreed to aim for starting the Business Track between the two countries which would allow to conduct business activities in limited areas during the first 14 days after entry, as well as the Residence Track (with 14-day stay home etc. after entry) expecting to be used by expatriates etc., from September.
The two ministers concurred that the development and popularization of vaccine are inevitable to turn the tide of COVID-19 pandemic, and that “COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX Facility)” is an important initiative to ensure fair access to the vaccines. At the same time, Minister Motegi mentioned that the support for developing countries is especially necessary to contain COVID-19, and that Japan would propel international cooperation through “COVAX Facility.” Furthermore, the two ministers concurred to establish ASEAN Centre for emerging diseases and public health emergencies at the earliest time possible, to ensure greater resilience of supply chain functions so that their economies are resilient against crisis, and to promote digital cooperation. In the field of infrastructure, the two ministers shared the view to cooperate to build joint projects in third party states, and Minister Motegi expressed positive support for the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN). Additionally, they concurred to coordinate towards holding “Japan-Singapore Symposium,” a track 1.5 dialogue held every year.
In addition, Minister Motegi called for the additional lifting of import restrictions on food from Fukushima.
Regarding regional situations, the two ministers held a frank and candid face-to-face exchange of views on the issues of East China Sea, South China Sea, and North Korea, and shared the view to continue to coordinate closely. Furthermore, Minister Motegi sought understanding and cooperation for the early resolution of the abductions issue, to which Minister Balakrishnan expressed his support.
2. Courtesy call on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
On August 13, commencing at 1 p.m. (local time; 2 p.m. Japan time) for approximately 30 minutes, Minister Motegi paid a courtesy call on H.E. Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore.
At the outset, Minister Motegi expressed his congratulations on the 55th National Day of Singapore, and expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Lee for accepting his visit.
Minister Motegi shared the current status of resuming cross-border travel between the two countries which had been discussed at the foreign ministers’ meeting held earlier the same day.
Regarding regional situations, the two ministers held a frank exchange of views on the issues of the South China Sea and North Korea, and shared the view to continue to coordinate closely.