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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Japan in a close ally of Estonia, the European Union and NATO


No 28

While meeting in Tokyo with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and members of the Japan-Estonia Friendship Group of the Japanese legislature, Foreign Minister Paet said Japan is an essential strategic partner for Estonia and that Estonia would like to see Japan’s relations with Estonia, the European Union and NATO strengthened. Paet added that Estonia would also like to conclude an agreement with Japan for the avoidance of double taxation.

Paet expressed his contentment over the cooperative efforts of Estonia and Japan in the field of information technology and telecommunication. “Japan is the producer of the world’s top electronics and their cyber security sector is also highly developed,” noted Paet. “In the near future, Japan is planning on starting to employ an electronic personal identification system. We are prepared to share our experience as an e-country with Japan, both in the creation of electronic information systems, as well as in the area of digital signatures and to also help bring these projects to fruition,” he added.

According to Paet, the basis for creating e-nation solutions is also the secure exchange of data within the country’s information systems. “The X-Road cross-border data exchange solution, developed in Estonia has been lauded by many other countries and development of the joint Estonian-Finnish X-Road is currently underway,” he said. “Estonia’s e-health and e-education solutions may also interest Japan,” he noted.

In meeting with members of the Japan-Estonia Friendship Group of the Japanese legislature, foreign minister Paet said that interpersonal contacts are extremely important in Estonian-Japanese relations. “He stressed that “Recent positive examples include the foundation of the Estonia Friendship Group in the Japanese legislature with its many members, the founding of the Estonian Business Club in Tokyo and also the growing success of tourism and student exchanges between the two countries.”

In the first 10 months of 2013, the number of Japanese tourists who visited Estonia grew 23 percent.

According to Paet, Estonian university students have had the opportunity for many years to apply for scholarships to study at various Japanese universities. “Estonian universities have cooperative agreements with numerous Japanese institutes of higher education and many of those agreements include student exchanges and cooperation,” Paet was quoted as saying. “We hope that the exchange of teaching staff will also intensify.”

It was mutually agreed, that Kaido Höövelson, sumo wrestler Baruto, who is officially ending his athletic career on February 8, has played a huge roll in introducing Japan in Estonia and introducing Estonia in Japan.

Foreign minister Paet was pleased to hear that Estonian choir music and films are appreciated in Japan. “It’s also wonderful news, that Paavo Järvi has been chosen as chief conductor of Japan’s most famous orchestra, the NHK Symphony Orchestra for its 2015/2016 season,” he remarked.

Paet also met with Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister responsible for technology development policy in the Japan government.


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