Japan-Sweden Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
December 25, 2014
On December 25, commencing at around 11:00 a.m. for approximately 40 minutes, Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held a foreign ministers’ meeting with H.E. Ms. Margot Wallström, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Sweden, during her visit to Japan. The overview of the meeting is as follows.
1. Opening remarks (including bilateral relations)
Minister Kishida welcomed Minister Wallström as the first dignitary to visit Japan since his reappointment as Foreign Minister, and also stated that he would like to cooperate with Sweden, which has a strong voice in international society, in fields such as peace keeping and peace building, women’s participation in society, and response to aging society. Mentioning the winning of the Nobel Prize in Physics by three Japanese researchers and the Nobel Prize Dialogue scheduled to be held in Tokyo in March next year, Minister Kishida stated he hopes to cooperate in the field of science and technology. In response, Minister Wallström said she is happy to visit Japan and meet with Minister Kishida. She also mentioned Japan and Sweden already enjoy excellent bilateral relations and she would like to further reinforce the relations. In addition, Minister Wallström expressed her congratulations for the Nobel Prize won by the Japanese researchers, saying it represents what is best of Japanese, namely, determination, hard-working, honesty and commitment to innovation.
2. Japan-European Union (EU) relations
Minister Wallström said the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is important to Sweden, a country drawing upon trade, and Swedes pursues its early conclusion. In response, Minister Kishida explained Japan’s economic policies, and said the Japan-EU EPA is an important pillar of Japan’s Growth Strategy and he asked for cooperation on accelerating the negotiations with the goal of reaching an agreement in principle in 2015. Minister Kishida also said he would like to seek an early conclusion of the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA).
3. Women’s participation in society
Minister Wallström said Sweden will be happy to contribute to Japan’s reform initiatives. In response, Minister Kishida explained Japan’s initiatives relating to women, such as the hosting of the World Assembly for Women in Tokyo (WAW!) next year and the opening of U.N. Women’s Japan office, and also stated that Japan would like to learn from the expertise of Sweden, which is advanced in the field of gender equality.
4. Proactive contribution to peace
Minister Kishida explained that while Japan’s path as a peaceful nation, which it has followed for 70 years since the war, will not change, Japan intends to actively contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of the regional and international community from the standpoint of making proactive contribution to peace. Minister Wallström stated that she appreciates Japan’s active contribution to peace keeping and peace building, and said Sweden is also making active contribution in the field of peace building and peace keeping. The foreign ministers confirmed that they will continue to exchange views in this field.
5. Cooperation in the international arena
Regarding U.N. reform, including the reform of the U.N. Security Council, Minister Kishida said he would like to achieve concrete outcomes next year, the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the U.N.. Minister Wallström explained that the activities in the U.N. is a cornerstone of Sweden’s diplomacy and it is actively engaging in various challenges, including peace-building, and expressed her intention to cooperate with Japan.
The two ministers also exchanged views on the situation in Ukraine and confirmed their cooperation in the framework of Nordic–Baltic Eight (NB8) +Japan in a way which supplements the bilateral relationships.