Joint Press Release on the Occasion of the Visit to Japan by the Honorable Romano Prodi Prime Minister of the Italian Republic

April 16, 2007

His Excellency Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, and His Excellency Mr. Romano Prodi, Prime Minister of the Italian Republic, held their first summit meeting in Tokyo on 16th April, 2007, during Prime Minister Prodi's visit to Japan at the invitation of the Government of Japan. As a conclusion of their meeting, the two Prime Ministers issued the following joint press release.

1. Tackling Global Challenges

(a) Peace and Security

Both being the G8 members and global partners sharing fundamental values such as freedom, democracy, basic human rights and the rule of law, Japan and Italy will further enhance dialogue and cooperation to promote peace and security in the international community.

They will continue to work together to tackle international challenges such as denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, human rights abuses in the DPRK including the abduction issue, the reconstruction and stabilization of Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon, as well as the Middle East peace process.

Japan and Italy will co-operate in strengthening non-proliferation and disarmament regime, in particular through their efforts in the relevant international organizations and fora. The two countries will closely collaborate in the review process for the 2010 NPT Review Conference, including its 1st session of the Preparatory Committee in 2007.

Japan and Italy reaffirm the vital importance of an effective multilateral system. They express their firm support for a reformed and more efficient United Nations, including its main bodies as referred to in the relevant documents on the issue. They look forward to having regular consultations on UN matters.

(b) Intellectual Property Rights, Environment

Recognizing the importance to protect and promote innovation for the sustainable development of the two economies and that of the world, Japan and Italy reaffirm our commitment to combating intellectual property rights infringements, especially trade in pirated and counterfeit goods.

Japan and Italy will continue to work closely in addressing the urgent challenges posed by climate change.

(c) G8 Presidencies

G8 Presidencies to be assumed by Japan in 2008 and by Italy in 2009 will offer a good opportunity for the two countries to further strengthen cooperation and collaboration to address global challenges.

2. Promoting Bilateral Cooperation

(a) Bilateral consultations

The two Prime Ministers are committed to further enhance dialogues between Japan and Italy at various levels and to meet each other frequently.

In this context, the two leaders reiterate the importance of the memorandum on bilateral regular political consultations signed in Tokyo by Foreign Minister Aso and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister D'Alema on 31st January 2007. They also express their desire to further enhance cooperation in the areas of security and defense in order to promote peace and security in the international community.

(b) "Primavera Italiana 2007"

"Primavera Italiana 2007", successfully inaugurated in Japan with the exposition of Leonardo's "Annunciazione", opens a new chapter in the multifaceted exchanges between Japan and Italy in various fields, including trade and investment, cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchange, as well as science and technology.

(c) Trade and Investment

Japan and Italy will work together to further improve business and investment environment in both countries in order to uplift the bilateral trade and investment relations to the level commensurate with the scale of their economies in the world. The Italy-Japan Business Group offers a useful framework for direct contacts between the business communities of the two countries. Both leaders share the view that a prompt issuance of Work/Residence Visas and Permits in Italy for Japanese business people and their family members will greatly contribute to further strengthening of the bilateral economic relations. They also welcome the start of bilateral consultations concerning a social security agreement.

(d) Cultural Cooperation and People-to-People Exchanges

Both leaders welcome the development of bilateral cooperation for the protection of cultural heritages in Japan and Italy, as well as their cooperation in third countries. They also wish to further promote tourism and youth exchanges and reaffirm their willingness to carry on their consultations on a working holiday scheme between the two countries.

(e) Science and Technology

Cooperation in science and technology has steadily developed under the Agreement between the two Governments signed in 1988. Japan and Italy will continue to promote closer cooperation under the Agreement. It is hoped that various events related to science and technology held on the occasion of "Primavera Italiana 2007" will present an opportunity for further advancing cooperation in this field.

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