Japan-Croatia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Working Dinner
August 14, 2019
On August 14, commencing at 6:35 p.m. (local time; 1:35 a.m. on August 15, Japan time) for approximately 110 minutes, Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, who is visiting Zagreb, Croatia, held a Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and working dinner with H.E. Mr. Gordan Grlic Radman, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia. The overview is as follows.
At the opening, Minister Radman welcomed Minister Kono’s visit to Croatia, for the first time as a Japanese Foreign Minister in 24 years. Minister Kono congratulated Minister Radman on being inaugurated as Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, and expressed his wish to cooperate with Minister Radman to further develop bilateral relations.
2. Bilateral Relations
The two ministers agreed to continue political dialogue on several levels. In addition, Minister Kono referenced some examples of the recent successes of Japanese businesses investing in Croatia. Minister Kono welcomed the dispatch of an economic mission for building on these successful cases and further expanding economic relations. In response to this, Minister Radman pointed out the advantages of Croatia’s business environment, such as Croatia’s efforts to diversify exports and imports, its qualified workers, and its favorable infrastructure. Both ministers confirmed that they will continue to work together. Additionally, the two ministers exchanged views on promoting exchanges in the realm of tourism and sports.
3. Western Balkan Situation
Minister Radman stated, as holder of the EU presidency next year, Croatia’s priority will be put on the issue of the integration of the Western Balkans in Europe, and will support the integration of this region into the EU. In response, Minister Kono explained that through Japan’s “Western Balkans Cooperation Initiative,” Japan will support the socio-economic reforms of the countries in the region, as well as intra-regional cooperation, towards their membership in the EU. In addition, he stressed the importance of collaboration with Croatia, the bridge between the EU and the Western Balkans, and expressed his hope that Croatia will lead the discussion as the holder of the EU presidency.
4. Regional and International Affairs
The two ministers exchanged opinions on the regional issues in East Asia and Europe, and confirmed their continued coordination when dealing with North Korea and other issues. Minister Kono stated he would like to gain the understanding and support of Croatia for the early resolution of the abductions issue, to which Minister Radman expressed his support.