Japan-Italy Foreign Ministers' Meeting

June 25, 2009

On June 25 (Thursday), Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, who was in Trieste to attend the G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting, held a Japan-Italy ministerial meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini for about 45 minutes, from 5:10 p.m. (CET). The summary of the meeting is as follows:

1. Bilateral Relations

At the outset, Foreign Minister Frattini stated that he was looking forward to accompanying the President of the republic of Italy when he would visit Japan this fall. He also said he anticipated mutual success for both this fall's "Italia in Giappone 2009" event and this July's event in Rome showcasing Japanese culture. He also expressed his desire for continued close cooperation between Japan and Italy, especially for strengthened economic ties, to further cement Japan-Italy relations. In response, Minister Nakasone conveyed his heartfelt condolences and sympathy for the many precious human lives lost and devastating impact on the region caused by the L'Aquila earthquake, expressing his hope for the earliest possible recovery for the disaster-stricken area and his desire for Japan to utilize its expertise as an earthquake-prone country to provide support. Moreover, he agreed with Foreign Minister Frattini on strengthening economic relations. Foreign Minister Frattini said he was grateful for Japan's expression of support, and Minister Nakasone stated that he would expect further advancement of mutual understanding through cultural events.

2. G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Regional Affairs

(1) Overview

Minister Nakasone expressed respect for Italy's leadership for their preparations for the current Foreign Ministers Meeting and next month's G8 Summit in L'Aquila, having taken over the position of G8 Chair from Japan under a complex international political situation. Foreign Minister Frattini thanked Minister Nakasone for his kind words, and requested Japan's cooperation to ensure the success of the Foreign Ministers Meeting and the Summit.

(2) L'Aquila Summit

Minister Nakasone stated that the G8's responsibilities are very important, given the many global challenges the international community faces, such as responding to the current financial and economic crisis, climate change, developmental challenges and Africa. In response, Foreign Minister Frattini said that he shared Minister Nakasone's views, and expressed his desire for close cooperation with Japan to ensure the success of the L'Aquila Summit.

(3) North Korea

Minister Nakasone said he commended the adoption of the strong United Nations Security Council resolution concerning the Nuclear Test conducted by North Korea, in cooperation with other countries including Italy, and stated that it was important to ensure that the resolution would be implemented firmly. Further, Minister Nakasone mentioned that Japan would like to continue to cooperate with Italy and other countries at the United Nations and otherwise, towards the resolution of the issues of concern including nuclear weapons, missiles, and the abduction issue. Foreign Minister Frattini expressed complete support for Japan's position. He further conveyed grave concerns about North Korea's nuclear tests and strongly condemned them, stating his desire to reflect this position in the statement of the Chair of the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting as well.

(4) Afghanistan and Pakistan

Minister Nakasone stated that the international community pledged more than $5 billion at the Pakistan Donors Conference held in Tokyo on April 17, and that it would be important to institute these pledges going forward. Furthermore, Minister Nakasone said that this regional issue was not only to be handled for Pakistan, but also for Afghanistan and Iran. Foreign Minister Frattini concurred with Minister Nakasone's statement.

(5) Piracy off the Coast of Somalia

Minister Nakasone presented Japan's anti-piracy measures in this region, and said that in addition to deploying military vessels, it is essential to the extirpation of piracy that we engage in multitier initiatives to improve the unstable situation in Somalia and raise the enforcement capabilities of coast guard and police forces. He stated that Japan had also been offering the necessary support. In response, Foreign Minister Frattini said that the local situation in Somalia was worsening and agreed with Minister Nakasone's view. He said Italy had also been supporting the coast guard and police, and that the G8 should also maximize their efforts in this area. He stated that he was satisfied that both Italy and Japan were undertaking concrete support measures.

(6) Iran

Minister Nakasone stated that Japan would sincerely implement sanctions according to the Security Council resolution, and would make use of its experience in high-level dialog to intercede in Iran. He also mentioned his visit to Iran in May. In response, Foreign Minister Frattini said he shared Minister Nakasone's concerns about Iran's nuclear problem. Moreover, Minister Nakasone expressed concerns about rebellion and media restrictions by the authorities. Foreign Minister Frattini replied that violence would not be tolerated, and that it was important to continue the dialog with Iran.

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