Japan-Panama Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Dinner
On March 3, commencing at around 6:25 p.m., Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held a foreign ministers’ meeting followed by a dinner with H.E. Mr. Francisco Javier Álvarez De Soto, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama, who is on a working visit to Japan upon invitation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the Iikura Guesthouse. An overview of the meeting and dinner is as follows. On this occasion, the two foreign ministers issued a joint press statement (English(PDF) / Japanese(PDF)).
1. Minister Kishida welcomed Minister Álvarez De Soto’s visit to Japan, stating that he visited Panama in May last year making the first visit by Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. Minister Kishida expressed satisfaction in holding a bilateral policy dialogue as Japan and Panama celebrate the 110th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year. In response Minister Álvarez De Soto stated that he is grateful for the invitation from the Government of Japan, and expressed hopes to further strengthen bilateral relations, which have grown closer as a result of high-level mutual visits in recent years.
2. Minister Kishida expressed hopes that both countries, as maritime nations, continue the close cooperative relationship in maritime affairs via amongst others the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Minister Kishida also mentioned that he would like to contisnue the exchanges of views and information concerning the progress of the Panama Canal expansion project and canal transit fees, which are of great interest for Japanese firms. Concerning which Minister Álvarez De Soto stated his wish to strengthen the cooperative relationship with Japan, with which Panama shares common interests as maritime nations and which is an important user of Panama-registered vessels as well as the Panama Canal which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.
3. Minister Álvarez De Soto stated that the President Martinelli is interested in utilizing Japan’s expertise in the “Panama City Urban Transportation Line-3 Project”, and wished that the Government of Japan would consider providing a yen loan. Minister Kishida responded that the Government of Japan is willing to give a positive consideration to provide a yen loan for the project, in light of the request from President Martinelli. Minister Álvarez De Soto expressed his gratitude for the consideration by the Japanese side.
4. Minister Kishida highly praised the seizure of military equipment by the Government of Panama from a North Korea-registered vessel in July last year, and indicated his hope that the Security Council resolutions be steadily implemented in the future. Minister Kishida also explained Japan’s position towards resolving such challenges as the nuclear and missile programs as well as the abduction issue. Minister Álvarez De Soto stated that he understands deeply the grave concerns that the Government and people of Japan have regarding the North Korea situation. Minister Álvarez De Soto stated that as a country that adopts a responsible position within the international community, Panama will respond firmly in accordance with Security Council resolutions and continue to cooperate with Japan in international arena.
5. In addition to cooperation in the international arena, including Security Council reform, the two ministers also exchanged views on the promotion of trade and investment relations with Panama, which continues to enjoy stable and high growth, and cooperation via regional organizations such as the Pacific Alliance and the Central American Integration System. Minister Kishida also explained the principle of Japan’s “Proactive Contribution to Peace”. Minister Álvarez De Soto, in turn, highly praised Japan’s contribution to the peace and stability of the international community thus far, expressing his expectation toward Japan’s continued leadership. The two ministers also exchanged views on the situation in East Asia, Ukraine and Central and South America.