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Foreign Minister Paet: The World Must Support Post-Disaster Japan

06.05.2011

No. 160-E

At his meeting with Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Yutaka Banno, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet confirmed that Estonia feels it is essential that the international community support Japan as it copes with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Banno gave Foreign Minister Paet an overview of recent developments in managing the aftermath of the natural disasters as well as the situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. Estonia has provided aid to Japan totalling 200 000 euros, and Estonian citizens have donated tens of thousands of euros to support the victims in Japan.

Paet confirmed Estonia’s support for UN Security Council reform. “The world has changed in the last decades, and this must be reflected in the composition of the UN Security Council. For example, Estonia supports Japan being added to the permanent members of the UN Security Council,” he added.

Paet and Banno discussed starting negotiations for a free trade agreement between the European Union and Japan. According to Foreign Minister Paet, Estonia supports liberalising EU-Japan trade if all the prerequisites are fulfilled and the barriers to get into the market have been removed. “We consider Japan an important partner with whom we share common values and who plays an essential role in promoting these values, particularly in Asia,” the foreign minister added.

Bilateral relations between Estonia and Japan are very good, but economic relations would get a boost from the concluding of an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation. Paet said that concluding such an agreement is a priority of Estonia’s bilateral relations with Japan. “Estonia’s location is favourable for Japanese businesses transporting goods to the Baltic Sea region and Russia,” Paet asserted.

Estonian producers of wooden houses are also interested in entering the Japanese market. When talking about Estonia-Japan economic relations, Foreign Minister Paet also highlighted positive co-operation with the Japanese car manufacturer Mitsubishi. The manufacturer is helping to develop a charging network for electric cars that will cover all of Estonia, and by the end of 2011 the social workers of local municipal governments will be driving Mitsubishi MieV electric cars. Paet emphasised that Estonia is interested in deepening co-operation in the IT sector and finding new projects.

“We would also like to name an honorary consul to Osaka, which would help to intensify bilateral relations even more,” said Foreign Minister Urmas Paet. This year marks 90 years since diplomatic relations were first established between Estonia and Japan and 20 years since diplomatic relations were restored.

When talking about cyber security, Foreign Minister Paet noted that the primary threat today is cybercrime. “We highly value Japan’s active participation in developing the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime. We hope that the signing of the convention sets a good example and inspires other countries in the region to do the same,” Paet stated.

Photos from the meeting: http://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry

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