Germany and Japan want to intensify their cooperation, particularly on economic issues. The Russian invasion of Ukraine showed the difficulties that exist when there is “excessive economic dependency in critical areas,” said Chancellor Olaf Scholz after his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Scholz: Japan is a key value partner
As a consequence of these experiences, it is important, among other things, “to expand cooperation with new partners and to win new partners,” said Scholz. “We want to reduce dependencies and increase the resilience of our economies.”
The Chancellor describes relations between Germany and Japan as “close and very friendly”. Japan is a “key value partner” for Germany. With the first German-Japanese government consultations, the bilateral relationship will now be raised to “a new level”.
According to Scholz, the topics of discussion with Kishida included the protection of critical infrastructure and the future of energy supply. In addition, both countries have agreed to cooperate more closely in securing supply chains and protecting trade routes. Cooperation on cyber security should also be strengthened.
The economic ties between Japan and Germany are close: the trade balance of both countries was 45.7 billion euros last year. This is an increase of 9.6 percent compared to the previous year. The high-tech country Japan is the second most important German trading partner in Asia after China. Japan currently holds the presidency of the G7 group of leading Western industrialized nations.
Military cooperation in the Indo-Pacific
According to Scholz, further military cooperation in the Indo-Pacific was also discussed. In addition to joint exercises and a planned “presence mission of the Bundeswehr”, both sides also want to “exchange situation assessments” more intensively in the future,” said the Chancellor.
Scholz was accompanied by six cabinet members during his visit to Tokyo. Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens), Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP), Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD), Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD), Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) and Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP).
nob/gri (afp, rtr, dpa)