Japan-Norway Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
On October 17, commencing at 5:30 p.m. for approximately 50 minutes, Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held a foreign ministers’ meeting with H.E. Mr. Børge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway. The overview of the meeting is as follows.
1. Opening Remarks
In his opening remarks, Minister Kishida welcomed Minister Brende on his first visit to Japan as Foreign Minister. He stated that he welcomed the visit of Minister Brende to his own home town of Hiroshima, and that Japan and Norway had built extremely amicable bilateral relations based on the traditionally close relationship between the Imperial Family of Japan and the Royal Family of Norway. Additionally, Minister Kishida stated that both countries are maritime nations, sharing interests in the fields of maritime transportation and fisheries, and that he would like to strengthen cooperation in such areas as Arctic policy and ensuring the rule of law at sea.
In response, Minister Brende stated that he was happy to meet Minister Kishida, and voiced his consent for cooperation in such areas as the maritime field and Arctic policy. Minister Brende also stated that he would like to further develop bilateral relations in a broad range of fields, including political affairs and the economy.
2. Bilateral relations and cooperation in the international arena
With regard to Arctic policy, Minister Kishida noted that this year marked the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Japan’s observation base in Ny-Alesund on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, and stated that Japan intended to continue contributing to the international efforts relating to the Arctic. Additionally, Minister Kishida explained that as both countries support a position of sustainable utilization of Cetacean resources, Japan would like to collaborate closely with Norway. Furthermore, Minister Kishida touched upon the Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8) plus Japan framework, and explained that he would like to promote cooperation on areas of common interest, such as women’s active participation to the society and innovation.
In response, Minister Brende explained that Norway was proactively taking the initiative for Arctic policy, and expressed respect for Japan’s track record of research activities relating to the Arctic. He stated that he expected for further cooperation with Japan, which is an observer at the Arctic Council. Additionally, Minister Brende confirmed the two countries’ common position on whaling, and stated that he would like to continue coordination with Japan in international fora.
3. Regional situations
The two foreign ministers shared the view that North Korea’s series of nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches had represented an unprecedented level of threat that required different response, and agreed to work closely together to increase pressure on North Korea. In addition, Minister Kishida once again requested Norway’s cooperation toward a prompt resolution of the abductions issue.
The two foreign ministers exchanged views on the situations in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and confirmed that they would collaborate closely for maintaining the international order based on the rule of law. The two ministers also exchanged views on Russia, which is a common neighbor of both countries.
(Reference) NB8 plus Japan
“The Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8)” plus Japan is a framework to strengthen cooperation between Japan and the NB8 countries (the five Nordic countries(Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) and the three Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), sharing fundamental values such as the rule of law and democracy as well as having many points in common, including placing importance on women’s active participation to the society and innovation. The framework was initiated by convening an NB8 plus Japan foreign ministers’ meeting in November 2013, and an NB8 plus Japan summit meeting was held in October 2014. In August 2015, the NB8 plus Japan Meeting on Active Participation by Women was held in Tokyo on the occasion of the World Assembly for Women in Tokyo (WAW!2015). NB8 plus Japan is expected to serve as a forum for sharing knowledge on various challenges such as women’s active participation to the society and innovation, and for contributing to the international community as “countries that are forerunners in finding solutions.”