Japan-France Foreign Ministers' Meeting (Overview)
On Sunday, May 20, commencing at around 4:05 pm local time (about 6:05 a.m. on Monday, May 21, Japan time) for approximately 55 minutes, Minister for Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba, who is visiting Chicago to attend the NATO Summit meeting, held a meeting with H. E. Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the French Republic. An outline of the meeting is as follows:
1. Opening, Bilateral Relations
Foreign Minister Gemba congratulated Mr. Fabius on his appointment as foreign minister and, while mentioning a meeting in February with him, who was a special envoy of Mr. François Hollande, then presidential candidate, stated that he would like to make efforts jointly with Foreign Minister Fabius so that both parties would open a new phase of possibilities of Japan-France cooperation. In response, Foreign Minister Fabius expressed his gratitude and stated that he was pleased to meet Foreign Minister Gemba again.
Moreover, Foreign Minister Fabius repeatedly expressed his intention to raise the Japan-France relations to the highest-ever level and both parties, for the purpose of jointly realizing this target, shared views to consider realization of foreign ministers’ strategic dialogue, with the idea of holding such dialogue in the latter part of this year.
2. European Debt Crisis
Foreign Minister Gemba stated that Japan had already cooperated for solution of the crisis, through purchase of European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) Bonds and contribution to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and was prepared to cooperate in the future as well, on the premise of efforts by European nations. In response, Foreign Minister Fabius expressed his gratitude for Japan’s contribution and stated that growth is also necessary for financial reconstruction and it would be necessary to newly consider tools for growth such as the roles of European Central Bank (ECB).
3. Japan-EU EPA
Foreign Minister Gemba requested more forward-looking and comprehensive judgment concerning the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) which would contribute to the economic growth of Japan and the EU. In response, Foreign Minister Fabius stated that although there was no problem in principle, he would like to discuss the matter with ministers concerned to thoroughly consider the issue.
4. Nuclear and Energy Issue
Foreign Minister Gemba asked Mr.Fabius about the nuclear policy of the new French administration and the possibility of Japan-France cooperation in this field. In response, Foreign Minister Fabius stated that in terms of French policy on nuclear, there was no change in the campaign policy of reducing dependence on nuclear power plant to 50% by the year 2025 and that one nuclear power plant would be decommissioned within the next five years. Foreign Minister Fabius also stated that because the technology level of both Japan and France is high, the two countries would be able to implement energy cooperation not only in the field of nuclear power but also in the field of energy saving.
Foreign Minister Gemba requested Foreign Minister Fabius to participate in the Tokyo Conference and to make a financial contribution. In response, Foreign Minister Fabius stated that France had signed an agreement with Afghanistan last January concerning future cooperation and although specific numerical figures for support had not been determined yet, he would like to consider the amount with the Tokyo Conference scheduled in July in mind.
Both parties shared views on the necessity of pressure and dialogue. Foreign Minister Gemba expressed his expectation for progress in the discussions between the EU3+3 and Iran and requested consideration of extension of measures such as exception to the ban on insurance and reinsurance of transportation of Iranian crude oil. In response, Foreign Minister Fabius expressed his understanding of Japan’s concerns.
(*The foregoing is a provisional translation. The date indicated above denotes the date of issue of the original version in Japanese.)
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