Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides and Deputy Foreign Minister of Japan Kazuyuki Nakane signed today a Memorandum of Understanding on reception and assistance during the evacuation of Japanese citizens from crisis areas, through the Republic of Cyprus, in the framework of the official visit of the Japanese Deputy Minister to Cyprus.
At the end of the signing ceremony, Christodoulides welcomed “my friend Deputy Foreign Minister of Japan, Mr. Kazuyuki Nakane, to Cyprus. Your presence today in Nicosia honors us especially. It is the first visit of a senior Japanese official to Cyprus, signaling a common desire to strengthen Cyprus-Japan relations.
The importance attached to the two countries’ relations is also demonstrated by the Japanese Government’s decision, after 56 years of diplomatic relations, to establish an Embassy in Nicosia, the inauguration of which will take place tonight, in the presence of the President of the Republic.
I would like to take this opportunity to warmly thank the Government of Japan for this decision, which is a milestone in deepening and expanding the very friendly relations between Cyprus and Japan.
I am very pleased to announce that the Republic of Cyprus, within the framework of the effort to promote economic diplomacy, will reciprocate in the near future, by opening a diplomatic mission of the Republic of Cyprus in Tokyo before the end of 2018.
The presence of Mr Nakane in Cyprus is also important for another reason: it is one week after the signing of the EU-Japan Economic Cooperation Agreement – an agreement that is extremely important not only because it institutionalizes EU-Japan relations, which was supported by Cyprus, but also because it promotes free trade on the basis of relevant international rules.
During our current consultations, we discussed our bilateral relations and ways of strengthening them, both politically and economically, as well as the significant prospects for cooperation, particularly in areas such as energy, shipping and tourism.
In this context, we exchanged views on how to establish our cooperation through agreements in specific areas such as tourism, avoiding double taxation, and opening up the Japanese market to dairy products in Cyprus. We consider it very important that we immediately begin negotiations on the conclusion of such bilateral agreements that will institutionalize our relations and how they can be further strengthened.
I would also like to welcome the opening of our cooperation in the field of crisis management with the conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding on the evacuation of Japanese citizens through the Republic of Cyprus that has just been signed. Our agreement is particularly important as it demonstrates our role in the region as well.
All this and much more that we will see how they can specifically strengthen our relations will be discussed during my visit to Japan this autumn. Mr Nakane extended me an invitation to visit Japan, which I immediately accepted.
With the Secretary of State, we also discussed extensively regional and international issues of mutual and special interest. Inter alia, Mr Nakane made a comprehensive presentation of the Japan Strategy for a free and open area that stretches between the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. This is a particularly important initiative of the Japanese Government.
He also informed me of the developments on the Korean Peninsula. It is our shared appreciation that dialogue for the benefit of peace and stability in the region must be maintained. The ultimate goal remains the complete, verifiable and irreversible de-nuclearization of North Korea. I would like to assure the Secretary of State for the full commitment of the Republic of Cyprus to the full implementation of the UN and EU Security Council sanctions regime.
I also informed him about the prospects for resuming the talks on the Cyprus issue, for the effort that started today with Mrs Lut’s contacts. I would like, by the way, to thank Mr Nakane for his country’s position on the Cyprus issue.
Finally, I briefed on trilateral partnerships in the Middle East, an area of particular interest to the Government of Japan. We exchanged views on the energy developments in the Eastern Mediterranean region and briefed Mr Nakane on the state of implementation of the Republic of Cyprus’ energy planning. We expect the Cyprus-Japan cooperation to be mutually beneficial for Cyprus and Japan, as well as strengthening to the ongoing efforts.
The prospects that are being opened are extremely auspicious and your visit is an important step in this direction. I look forward to my visit to Japan this autumn”.
On his part, the Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister said: “I am particularly pleased to be in Cyprus for the first time and I had the honor to meet Mr Christodoulides. I would like to thank Mr Christodoulides and my Cypriot hosts for their warm reception.
Japan and Cyprus share fundamental values and cooperate both bilaterally and internationally. Cyprus is a member of the EU and at the same time is close to the Middle East. Japan attaches great importance to the geopolitical role of Cyprus and for this reason it has decided to establish an Embassy in Nicosia.
In today’s meeting we reaffirmed the importance of our bilateral relations and the possibilities for their promotion. With the establishment of our Embassy, I hope to further strengthen the cooperation between the two countries.
We have just signed a Memorandum of Understanding to evacuate Japanese citizens to Cyprus, in case of emergencies from critical areas. In the past, Cyprus received Japanese citizens who were forced to leave the Middle East. We would like to count on the help of Cyprus in case of similar incidents in the future.
Japan and Cyprus, as island countries benefit from the rules deriving from international law for free and open seas. Both countries also seek peace and stability in their region. We would like to work together to consolidate international law at sea.
I would like to emphasize the fact that Japan supports EU cohesion, which is now a strategically and economically important partner. It is a great pleasure to have recently signed the Strategic Partnership and Economic Partnership Agreements between Japan and the EU. We would like to continue our cooperation with Cyprus in order to ratify these agreements soon.
On the occasion of my visit, I wish to work even more to promote our bilateral relations with my colleague, Mr Christodoulides”./IBNA