Japan-Laos Relations

Japan-Lao PDR Summit Meeting

March 6, 2015
Japanese

On March 6, commencing at 6 p.m. for approximately 45 minutes, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a meeting with H.E. Mr. Thongsing Thammavong, Prime Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), during his official working visit to Japan. The overview of the meeting is as follows.

After the meeting, the two leaders signed the Joint Statement on Establishing strategic Partnership between Japan and the Lao PDR (PDF)Open a New Window.

Additionally, Prime Minister Abe presented Prime Minister Thongsing with a commemorative coin for the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Lao PDR.

1. Bilateral relations

(1) 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations
Prime Minister Abe noted that the previous day (March 5) was the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and said he is overjoyed that Prime Minister Thongsing was able to visit Japan on this memorable occasion. Prime Minister Abe said this year Japan was given elephants as a gift by the Lao PDR and cherry trees were planted in the Lao PDR by Japan, and he hopes that mutual understanding can be deepened through such exchanges. Prime Minister Thongsing said he had received a report that the cherry trees had blossomed, and wants to promote exchanges, including via the Laos Festival in Japan.>

(2) Upgrading bilateral relations to a “strategic partnership”
The two leaders shared the view that on the occasion of the 60th anniversary, based on the mutually beneficial relationship and in the interest of further cooperation in the regional and international community, the “comprehensive partnership” will be newly developed into a “strategic partnership.” They confirmed that cooperation will be strengthened via mutual visits by VIPs and others.

2. Politics and security

(1) “Proactive Contribution to Peace”
Prime Minister Abe explained that in the 70-year period since World War II, Japan has consistently cultivated a nation that is free and democratic, and where human rights are protected and the rule of law is respected, and going forward also, it will continue to follow the path of a peace-loving nation. Prime Minister Abe said that in order to contribute to the peace and development of Asia and the world, and from the standpoint of the policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation, Japan wants to cooperate with the Lao PDR. In response, Prime Minister Thongsing said he highly appreciates and supports Japan’s efforts.

(2) Security dialogue
The two leaders said they appreciated that the first security dialogue was held in April last year and a meaningful exchange of views had taken place, and shared the view that they will continue to strengthen cooperation.

3. Economic cooperation

Prime Minister Abe explained that this year, which is a milestone year in ASEAN Community building, he will continue to support the stronger connectivity of the Lao PDR, which is located in the center of the Mekong region, and the rectification of disparity within the region. He said Japan is promoting high quality infrastructure investment in particular, and pledged Japan’s ongoing contribution to the Lao PDR’s sustainable economic growth. Prime Minister Abe also conveyed a recent plan to provide grant aid in order to establish a fishing industry-related facility. In response, Prime Minister Thongsing expressed his gratitude for Japan’s many years of support and its major contributions to the Lao PDR’s economic development. He said the Lao PDR is currently facing various challenges on the financial affairs and human resources development fronts, and requested continued support from Japan.

Prime Minister Abe said that this year is also the 50th anniversary of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) Program, and he wants to continue face-to-face support and exchange with the Lao PDR via the program, as the first recipient country of JOCV. Prime Minister Thongsing explained that he had interacted with the volunteers from that time during this trip.

4. Trade and investment

The two leaders shared the view that in light of the establishment of the JETRO Vientiane office in April last year, they will promote further market entries by Japanese companies, and will cooperate on preparing the investment environment via the Japan-Lao Public and Private Joint Dialogue and other frameworks going forward also.

5. Various exchanges

(1) Japan-Laos Air Services Agreement
The two leaders shared the view that following the signing of the Agreement Between Japan and Lao People’s Democratic Republic for air services Japan-Laos Air Services Agreement during a visit to the Lao PDR by H.E. Mr. Kazuyuki Nakane, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, in January this year, they will cooperate on realizing direct flights promptly.

(2) Visa exemptions for official passport holders
The two leaders shared the view that in light of the commencement of visa exemptions for official passport holders of the Lao PDR from April 1 this year, they will promote dialogue between the two countries.

(3) Strengthening the transmission of information offshore
Prime Minister Abe explained that an agreement on news article exchanges between Kyodo News and the Lao News Agency is scheduled to be signed soon, and said he hopes it will promote understanding of Japan in the Lao PDR.

6. Cooperation in the regional and international arenas

(1) ASEAN
Prime Minister Abe explained that he is supporting the training of Lao PDR foreign ministry officials at the ASEAN secretariat in order to support preparations for the Lao PDR’s appointment as the ASEAN chair country in 2016, and the two leaders shared the view that they will deepen cooperation on regional issues.

(2) Japan-Mekong cooperation
Prime Minister Thongsing said he highly appreciates Japan-Mekong cooperation, will personally attend the Japan-Mekong Summit Meeting being held in Tokyo in July this year, and wants to strengthen cooperation with Japan.

(3) Other issues
The two leaders also exchanged views on maritime-related issues, North Korea and Reform of the United Nations, and shared the view that cooperation between Japan and the Lao PDR will deepen further, including as a result of the attendance of H.E. Mr. Asang Laoly, Deputy Prime Minister of the Lao PDR, at the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (Sendai, March this year).