Latvijas ārlietu ministrs Krišjānis Kariņš tiekas ar Japānas ārlietu ministri Joko Kamikavu (Yoko Kamikawa)
Photo: Katrīna Laura Tkačenko, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Between 5 and 9 February, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Krišjānis Kariņš, was on an official visit to Japan and met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Yoko Kamikawa, in Tokyo. 

During their bilateral meeting, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and Japan emphasised that both countries are like-minded, united in respect for democratic values and the rule-of-law. Krišjānis Kariņš thanked Japan for its support to Ukraine, including during Japan’s G7 presidency. He also recognised Japan’s initiative to organise a conference on the reconstruction of Ukraine to take place on 19 February in Tokyo. 

At the meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Minister Kariņš emphasised that security in Europe and the Indo-Pacific regions was closely linked, therefore it was essential for like-minded countries to build strong cooperation in order to strengthen the rules-based international order. The Ministers discussed security matters of the Indo-Pacific region, including threats created by North Korea’s ballistic missile tests. The officials stressed that the status quo in the Taiwan Strait could not be allowed to be changed by force and that the freedom of navigation in the whole region must be protected.  

The Ministers also turned to discussing bilateral relations. The Japanese Foreign Minister expressed interest in seeking opportunities for closer cooperation with Latvia in the area of security, including strategic communications. Officials also discussed opportunities for intensifying economic cooperation. Krišjānis Kariņš thanked Japan for investing in Latvia and invited Japan to increase the range of its investments, highlighting the banking sector, infrastructure projects and manufacturing. Minister Kariņš introduced Minister Kamikawa with the accompanying business delegation and urged seeking opportunities in strengthening cooperation in the areas of defense technologies, information and communications technologies and energy. The Minister of Foreign Affairs invited his Japanese colleague to visit Latvia.

During the official visit, Krišjānis Kariņš gave a lecture at the University of Tokyo on how Latvia viewed current security challenges, emphasising the need to continue supporting Ukraine as an investment in strengthening the rules-based international order.

“If Russia won’t be stopped, it will be a signal of encouragement to other potential aggressors,” warned Krišjānis Kariņš. The Minister of Foreign Affairs invited like-minded partners to cooperate closely, including within the United Nations. The lecture was attended by students of the University of Tokyo, think-tank researchers and diplomats. 

Latvia’s Foreign Minister also met with the Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshimasa Hayashi, the Chair of the Latvia-Japan friendship group in the Japanese Parliament, Hirofumi Nakasone, and prominent Japanese business people. Krišjānis Kariņš visited the U.S. 7th Fleet base in Yokosuka.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs met with the President of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Susumu Kataoka, and the Chair of the Committee on Europe at Keidanren, the Japan Business Federation, Makoto Takashima. Krišjānis Kariņš opened the Latvia-Japan business seminar, at which Latvia’s business representatives introduced their Japanese counterparts with offers for cooperation. At the meeting with JETRO and Keidanren leadership, Krišjānis Kariņš talked about Latvia’s economic priorities, invited to invest in the largest infrastructure and energy projects, as well as develop small and medium sized manufacturing in sectors producing high added-value products.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs met with the largest Japanese investors in Latvia – the Mitsui & Co. (owners of Riga Universal Terminal, RUT) and the Marubeni Corporation (co-owners of Conexus Baltic Grid). Krišjānis Kariņš thanked the companies for their investments and invited to broaden them.

Krišjānis Kariņš on his official visit to Japan was accompanied by representatives of the following companies – KK Regula Baltija, Ltd, AE Risinājumi, Ltd, Pelegrin, Ltd, Fortes, Ltd and Baltic Motorsport Promotion, Ltd. The business delegation received travel support from the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia.

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