Seventh Japan-France Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue
On January 27, commencing at around 10 a.m. for approximately 80 minutes, Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held the Seventh Japan-France Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue with H.E. Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, who was making a Working Visit to Japan upon invitation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The overview is as follows. In addition, following the strategic dialogue, Minister and Mrs. Kono held a lunch to welcome Minister and Mrs. Le Drian.
1. Opening remarks
Minister Kono mentioned that Japan and France were “exceptional partners” that shared fundamental values such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and stated that he hoped Japan and France would work together more closely in addressing the North Korea issues as well as various global challenges. The two ministers confirmed that they would further deepen the “exceptional partnership” between Japan and France through “Japonism 2018” and mutual visits by the leaders of the two countries this year, which marks the 160th anniversary of Japan-France diplomatic relations.
2. Bilateral relations
(1) The two ministers confirmed that in this commemorative year they would cooperate closely in new economic fields such as innovation, adding to the exsisting cooperative relations including investment.
(2) The two ministers also shared the view that they would further strengthen Japan-France cooperation including in Africa.
3. Japan-European Union (EU) relations
(1) The two ministers confirmed that they would cooperate toward the early signing and entry into force of Japan-EU EPA.
(2) Minister Kono also stated that with regard to the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU, transparency and predictability were important. Minister Le Drian explained that he understood the concern that Japanese businesses could be affected and that France would try to make sure that Japanese businesses are not put to unfavorable position. He also confirmed that they would continue to exchange their views closely.
4. International and global issues
Minister Kono appreciated Minister Le Drian’s leadership in connection with the conference on the International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons that was held in Paris on January 23. The two ministers shared the view on the need to advance United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reform promptly. They also confirmed that they would cooperate closely in such fields as disarmament and non-proliferation.
5. Regional affairs
(1) With regard to North Korea, the two ministers shared the view that it was necessary to fully implement the relevant UNSC resolutions, as confirmed at the Fourth Japan-France Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting held on the previous day.
(2) The two ministers also exchanged views on the situations in the Middle East and other matters.
Japan and France agreed to establish the Japan-France Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue at a Japan-France Summit Meeting in May 2011, and the dialogues have been held every year since 2012. Most recently, the Sixth Japan-France Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue was held in Paris on January 6, 2017.