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Japanese FM Tarō Kōno highlights prospects of cooperation between Japan and Central Asian countries

17 May 2019 17:30
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Japanese FM Tarō Kōno highlights prospects of cooperation between Japan and Central Asian countries

NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM - The capital of the Republic of Tajikistan - Dushanbe - will host the 7th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue on May 18. On the eve of the event Kazinform International News Agency publishes the article of Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Tarō Kōno "Prospects of cooperation between Japan and Central Asian countries".

"First of all, I am delighted that I will set foot on the land of Central Asia for the first time since taking the office as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Tomorrow I will participate in the 7th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue in Dushanbe and I look forward to discussing with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Beibut Atamkulov and other colleagues the issues of future cooperation at this platform.

Since the Central Asian countries gained independence, our country has been continuously developing the history of cooperation with the countries of the region; Prime Minister Shinzō Abe paid a historical visit to five countries of the region in 2015. In 2017, we celebrated one of the important milestones in history - 25 years of establishing diplomatic relations. As for relations with Kazakhstan, President Nazarbayev paid an official visit to Japan in November 2016. Many Japanese people visited the Astana EXPO international exhibition which took place in 2017. In June 2018, Astana welcomed the 7th Session of the Joint Commission of Government and Private Sector of Japan and Kazakhstan on economic cooperation. Prior to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo the preparations are underway to host Kazakhstani athletes in the cities of Kashihara (Nara Prefecture), Kurume (Fukuoka Prefecture) and Yuki (Ibaraki Prefecture).

While the relations between Japan and the Central Asian countries are still being strengthened, at tomorrow's meeting I would like to reiterate that the Japanese diplomacy supports ‘open, sustainable and independent development' of the region and implementation of the joint work with all countries ‘as a catalyst of regional cooperation'.

The Government of Japan supports the idea of strengthening relations in the region, for it believes the landlocked Central Asia would benefit from achieving more open development. There is a treasure house in the ancient capital of Japan, Nara. It keeps music instruments, utensils, swords and other items brought in the VIII century from Central Asia. It means that it is impossible to tell the history of Japan without reference to culture and knowledge running across the Silk Road. We hope that the Central Asian region in the 21st century will become a new corridor in Eurasia bridging it with Europe in the west through the Caspian Sea and Caucasus, with Asia in the east, with the Indian Ocean in the south and will develop further.

I would like to say that the regional infrastructure which supports such corridors should not undermine financial stability and independence of the country. It should be accessible for all for fair use without any obstacles. Our country is set to cooperate with its partners in order to build the high-quality infrastructure up to the international standards such as openness, transparency, economic efficiency and financial stability of the targeted country. Furthermore, great importance is attached to development of human resources able to use and monitor it. This direction is included into the projects under the Central Asia +Japan Dialogue.

One of today's major threats in the region is terrorism and violent extremism. Large-scale terror acts occurred in Sri Lanka leaving many people dead. We strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms. Stability and security in Central Asia which shares the longest border with Afghanistan are key to maintaining peace and stability of the entire international community. Japan contributed and will contribute to each country of the region in border control, drug traffic control, war on terrorism and violent extremism and stabilization of situation in Afghanistan.

Central Asia +Japan Dialogue foresees also cooperation in agriculture directly associated with people's life. Its aim is that each of the country of the region is to enjoy benefits of its national development without overdependence on some countries.

The new land corridor of Eurasia has potential to contribute to independent development of the region. It is a potential in the tourism industry. It would be more fruitful if the countries of Central Asia exerted joint efforts, for example, mapping out new tour routes running across several countries of the region. Promotion of mutual understanding through tourism is of great importance for ensuring peace and friendship across the region. At tomorrow's meeting the foreign ministers will focus on debating avenues for practical cooperation in this sphere.

Japan's assistance aimed at ensuring ‘open, stable and independent development' of the Central Asian region including in the abovementioned spheres prioritizes development of human capital required for state building. In the past 26 years, Japan has accepted more than 10,000 trainees from Central Asian countries, while it has sent 3,400 experts to exchange experience in various sectors, such as agriculture, transport, economy, healthcare, public administration, prevention of disasters, tourism etc. With great pleasure I would like to note that some of the graduates of our traineeship programs hold seniour positions in the Government of Kazakhstan. Some are actively doing business.

The potential of the Central Asian region is great. Undoubtedly, each country has its own attractive sides. However, I am confident that the interaction across the entire region will let, figuratively speaking, cause brighter ‘chemical reaction'. In 2004, our country launched the first in the world Central Asia+Japan Dialogue with the hope to play the role of "a regional cooperation catalyst". The first consultative meeting of the heads of state of Central Asia was held in Kazakhstan in March 2018 which gave rise to the promotion of the regional cooperation in whole.

There is no need to say that cooperation within this dialogue is based on strong bilateral friendly relations with Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan is the country with the highest economic development rate in Central Asia. The country that serves as a key to the improvement of cooperation on the Eurasian continent. The two countries that share the bitter experience of Semipalatinsk, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are cooperating for ensuring the nuclear-weapon-free world. In recent years we have been collaborating closely at various international platforms, like the UN Security Council.

In conclusion, I would like to note that on May 1 Japan entered a new era when its new Emperor ascended the throne. I hope that my current visit will open a new chapter in the ‘history of cooperation' between Japan and Central Asia.


Keywords: Central Asia,
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