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Minister Flanagan holds talks with Japan's Foreign Minister in Tokyo


Minister Flanagan holds talks with Japan's Foreign Minister in Tokyo 

- Regional political developments, bilateral trade, Brexit, shared commitments to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament were among the issues discussed
- Minister meets the Japan Ireland Parliamentary Friendship League
- Minister addresses Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce
- Speech to the Japan National Press Club focuses on Brexit

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Charles Flanagan TD, met today (Wednesday) with Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan.
Speaking from Tokyo, the Minister said:
“I was delighted to meet with Minister Kishida this evening. We had the opportunity to continue discussions on a range of issues of mutual importance including developments in our respective regions, following on from discussions held in early January when he visited Ireland. These visits come at an important time for Ireland and take place against the backdrop of the 60th anniversary of bilateral relations between Ireland and Japan.

"Minister Kishida and I discussed the opportunities to deepen Ireland and Japan's trade relationship. Brexit was high on our agenda and I assured Minister Kishida that Ireland remains committed to the EU providing an attractive location to Japanese investors. I outlined Ireland's preparations for Brexit.

"We reflected on the good progress made under the Partnership for Innovation and Growth agreed by the Taoiseach and Prime Minister Abe in 2013 and committed to updating this important framework agreement next year.

"We also reaffirmed our support for a speedy conclusion of the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement which will strengthen our already healthy trade ties further and support jobs and growth in Europe and Japan.”

The Ministers also discussed Ireland's Rugby World Cup bid and exchanged national team jerseys emblazoned on the back with the number "60" to mark the significant anniversary in the bilateral relationship.

Minister Flanagan continued:

"I spoke with Minister Kishida about my moving visit to Hiroshima, his hometown. Japan and Ireland share a strong commitment to achieving a world free from nuclear weapons and both countries are well known for our work in Disarmament and non-proliferation at the United Nations. We also discussed our mutual commitment to UN peacekeeping."

Earlier in the day, the Minister also met the Japan-Ireland Parliamentary Friendship League which is chaired by the Japanese Minister for Agriculture, Mr Yuuji Yamamoto. Speaking after the engagement, the Minister said:

“The Japan Ireland Parliamentary Friendship League serves a valuable role in raising Ireland’s profile at a high political level in Japan. I was delighted to have the opportunity to outline Ireland’s priorities in the coming Brexit negotiations to the League and to re-affirm the importance the Irish Government places on bilateral relations with Japan. I asked the Members to spread the word about Ireland's trade and investment credentials and invited them to visit Ireland in the near future. Some members accompanied Prime Minister Abe on his 2013 visit and retain an affection for Ireland."

The Minister also met this morning with the Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce and delivered an address to the Japan National Press Club entitled The European Union and Ireland: the implications of Brexit.

The Minister also met with the founder of Support our Kids, a charity supported by Ireland that assists children affected by the horrific Great East Japan earthquake which struck in March 2011, killing 18,000 people and leaving a lasting legacy of devastation for many more.

The Minister met with a group of students from Support our Kids when they visited Ireland last July.
Press Office
01 March 2017

Note to editors:

• This year Ireland and Japan celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations. 60 represents a significant anniversary in Japan, symbolising the completion of one life cycle and the start of another. In January Foreign Minister Kishida visited Ireland and invited Minister Flanagan to visit Japan.
• Japan is a regional and international economic powerhouse, the world's third largest national economy.
• Japan is Ireland's largest source of FDI in Asia. 79 Japanese companies provide over 4,000 direct jobs in Ireland.
• In 2015 Ireland's bilateral trade with Japan totalled €9.8 billion with Ireland having a positive trade surplus of €4.25 bn.
• Japan is Ireland's largest export market for goods to Asia and our ninth largest trading partner.