Press Advisories

27. 6. 2017 22:33

In Japan, Prime Minister Sobotka discusses cooperation in the economy, culture, transport and international politics with Prime Minister Abe

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, 27 June 2017.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, 27 June 2017.
On Tuesday 27 June 2017, as an opening to his four-day visit to Japan, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka had a meeting with Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. The main topic of the meeting was Czech-Japanese cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, the defence industry, transport, science and research. The prime ministers also discussed cultural cooperation and international issues, including support for the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement. Prime Minister Sobotka arrived in Japan 12 years after the last official visit to the country was made by the Czech Prime Minister.

At the beginning of the meeting, Prime Ministers Abe and Sobotka commemorated the 60th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the Czech Republic and Japan. 2017 was also declared the Year of Czech culture in Japan.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka stated during the meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Japan is one of the most important partners of the Czech Republic in Asia. Cooperation between the two countries is already enjoying a very good level, yet the two prime ministers agreed that there is a need to capitalise on the existing potential to deepen the joint activities. Potential exists primarily in the field of business cooperation in promising fields such as aviation, power engineering, medical technologies, information and communication technologies and the food industry. Opportunities are newly opening up in the defence industry and security domain. Trade exchanges between Japan and the Czech Republic are constantly growing: over the past six years, Czech exports to Japan have more than doubled, and Japan is the third most important business partner for the Czech Republic in the Asian region.

During the conversation, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka also commended 250 Japanese investors who are operating in the Czech Republic, bringing not only capital but also innovations. Japan is the second largest foreign investor in the Czech Republic and the prime minister confirmed that the Czech Republic wants to continue creating favourable conditions for foreign investment. At present, we intend to focus on those that are characterised by innovative potential and the ability to generate high added value, and to make use of the technologically advanced Czech industrial base. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka described cooperation in science and research as being very important.

According to Prime Minister Sobotka, a direct air connection between Prague and Tokyo would help trade and tourism. Both prime ministers appreciated the recent negotiations on an air agreement between the Czech Republic and Japan, which is the first impulse to introduce a direct air route in the future. An agreement on working holidays that was signed today can help the exchange of students between Japan and the Czech Republic and make short-term stays and job opportunities abroad possible for young Czechs and Japanese.

Prime Ministers Sobotka and Abe also discussed international issues today, including EU-Japan relations and continued efforts to finalise negotiations on a free trade agreement between the European Union and Japan as soon as possible. Other topics of the debate were the crisis on the Korean Peninsula and the current situation in the East Asian region.

On his visit to Japan, Prime Minister Sobotka is accompanied by a large business delegation of almost thirty businesspeople from the aviation and defence industry, mechanical and power engineering and health care. The delegation also includes Minister of Industry, Jiří Havlíček, Minister of Culture, Daniel Herman, and the CEO of the CzechInvest Agency, Karel Kučera.

On the occasion of the meeting of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a visa agreement on work holidays was signed on Tuesday and a memorandum was exchanged between CzechInvest and a partner agency, JETRO, as well as a Framework Security Agreement on Cooperation on the Third Markets between EGAP and the partner institution, NEXI.

The agreement on work holiday visas was signed today in Tokyo by Deputy Foreign Minister Václav Kolaja and Japan's Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Kaoru Shimazaki. This agreement will allow Japanese and Czech people aged between 18 and 30 a short-term stay in the other country for a maximum of 12 months, during which they can work and travel there.

The memorandum on cooperation between CzechInvest, an investment and entrepreneurship promotion agency, and the Japanese partner agency, JETRO, aims to support bilateral activities that will not only drive investments to both countries but also increase trade exchanges between Japan and the Czech Republic.

The Framework Security Agreement between the Czech state-owned insurance company, EGAP, and its Japanese counterpart, NEXI, should in its turn enable the cooperation of these entities in third countries.

During his visit, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will also meet Tadamori Oshima, President of the Lower House of the Parliament of Japan, and Japanese Crown Prince, Naruhito. He will also open the Czech-Japanese economic forum, make an appearance at Josai University in Tokyo, visit Kyoto and place a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.

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