Japan-UK Foreign Ministers' Talks and Foreign Minister Matsumoto's Discussion with Prime Minister Cameron

May 3, 2010

  • (photo) Foreign Minister Matsumoto shaking hands with British Secretary Hague
  • (photo) Foreign Minister Matsumoto talking with British Prime Minister Cameron

On Tuesday 3 May at 4.30pm, Mr Takeaki Matsumoto, Foreign Minister of Japan, took part in Japan-UK Foreign Ministers' talks with the Rt. Hon. William Hague, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, in London. During the talks, which lasted approximately one hour, Mr Matsumoto and Mr Hague were joined by British Prime Minister David Cameron. The details are as follows:

1 Japan-UK Foreign Ministers' talks

(1) Opening remarks

Foreign Minister Matsumoto began by offering his congratulations on the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and reiterating Japan's gratitude for the warm expressions of support and concern from the British Government and people on the occasion of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. He declared that the support extended by the United Kingdom had been a source of great encouragement for the Japanese people. Furthermore, he expressed his wish for the two countries to deepen their bilateral relations and to expand still further their ties of cooperation in the international community.

In response, Foreign Secretary Hague stated that the United Kingdom placed great importance on its relations with Japan and that he welcomed Foreign Minister Matsumoto's visit to the UK.

(2) Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the nuclear crisis

Foreign Minister Matsumoto outlined the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and Japan's response, and declared that Japan would continue to keep the international community updated on developments with the utmost transparency. As for the nuclear accident, he highly valued cooperation with the United Kingdom, whose reaction had been based on scientific and objective criteria. Concerning excessive restrictions placed on the import of Japanese foodstuffs in some cases, he urged the United Kingdom to maintain its measured stance from the standpoint of preventing damage to business from unsubstantiated rumours.

Mr Hague replied by urging Japan, which faced continuing difficulties as a result of the earthquake and tsunami, to identify anything the UK could do to assist in the reconstruction effort.

(3) Japan-UK relations

(a) Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement

Foreign Minister Matsumoto spoke of his wish for Japan to work together with the United Kingdom towards closer Japan-EU cooperation, in reply to which Foreign Secretary Hague stated that the UK would back a Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement so as to support Japan in its rebuilding drive.

(b) The Hague Convention

Foreign Secretary Hague expressed his wish for Japan to sign The Hague Convention at an early date.

2 Foreign Minister Matsumoto's talks with Prime Minister Cameron (also attended by Foreign Secretary Hague)

(1) Opening remarks

Prime Minister Cameron declared how impressed he had been by the determined and disciplined response of the Japanese people to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, in reply to which Foreign Minister Matsumoto repeated his appreciation of the support received from the United Kingdom.

(2) Bilateral relations

Foreign Minister Matsumoto indicated his wish to take Japan-UK relations to a new level and invited Prime Minister Cameron to visit Japan. Mr Cameron recalled that he had visited Japan in 1985 and declared that he very much wished to do so again.

(3) Other matters

Foreign Minister Matsumoto stated that Japan wished to shoulder its responsibilities in the international community with regard to Libya and the Middle East and looked forward to cooperating with the United Kingdom in this regard. As for aid to Afghanistan, he pointed out that despite the recent catastrophe in Japan the Government had decided there should be no change to its policy of assisting Afghanistan.

In response, Prime Minister Cameron characterised the death of Osama bin Laden as offering a major opportunity to boost anti-terrorism measures and to advance the cause of democratisation and economic development in the Middle East and North Africa. He wished to step up cooperation with Japan to help make the most of this opportunity.

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