Japan-Colombia Summit Meeting
Monday, September 12, 2011
On Monday, September 12, Mr. Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister of Japan, held talks with H.E. Mr. Juan Manuel Santos, President of the Republic of Colombia, at the Prime Minister's Office. The overview of the meeting is as follows (the meeting was attended by H.E. Ms. Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Dr. Carlos Rodado Noriega, Minister of Mines and Energy, H.E. Mr. Sergio Diaz-Granados, Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, H.E. Mr. German Cardona Gutierrez, Minister of Transportation, H.E. Ms. Patricia Eugenia Cardenas Santamaria, Ambassador to Japan in Tokyo, and others from the Colombian side; and Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hiroyuki Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Fumihiko Igarashi, Senior Vice Minister of Finance, Mr. Tadahiro Matsushita, Senior Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Mr. Kazumi Suzuki, Ambassador to Colombia, and others from the Japanese side):
- At the start, Prime Minister Noda welcomed President Santos' first visit to Japan in about 20 years, where his previous visit was made in the capacity of Minister of Foreign Trade, as he was the first Head of Dtate to be welcomed into the Prime Minister's Office since Prime Minister Noda assumed his office. Prime Minister Noda thanked Colombia's assistance in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake as well as the President's visit to the Embassy of Japan in Colombia where he signed condolences, and expressed his anticipation for strengthened economic relations. In response, President Santos thanked Prime Minister Noda for accepting the offer to visit Japan and expressed solidarity on behalf of the people and the Government of Colombia in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake and the recent typhoon No. 12 disaster. Prime Minister Noda thanked President Santos for his words and underlined Japan's resolve toward "open reconstruction".
- With regard to economic relations, President Santos welcomed the signing of the investment agreement between Japan and Colombia, saying that it presents the best opportunity for both countries to strengthen bilateral relations, in light of the recent improvement of the public safety situation in Colombia as well as its current role in South America, unlike when there was not always a sufficient environment to maximize the potential of bilateral relations. The President also said that he is eager to start a joint research process toward future economic partnership agreement (EPA) negotiations. He explained that Colombia enjoys the greatest growth of foreign investment among Latin American nations thanks to its efforts to improve the investment environment, and expressed his expectation for reinforced economic relations with Japan. In response, Prime Minister Noda appreciated President Santos' efforts in the area of public safety, and requested him to continue these efforts for the further strengthening of economic relations, referring to the heightened interest toward Colombia within Japan's economic circle. Concerning EPA, Prime Minister Noda said that he would like to start with launching joint research with Colombia.
- President Santos also said that, in addition to economic relations, Colombia is eager to cooperate with Japan in addressing various issues in the international arena, including cooperation in the environmental front toward the success of COP17 on climate change, as countries sharing common values of democracy and basic human rights. In this connection, Prime Minister Noda expressed concern over the human rights situation in North Korea, and in particular over the issue of abduction of Japanese nationals, and said that Japan will continue calling on the international community to address the issue. The two leaders also agreed to continue dialogue concerning the United Nations reform.