On Monday, 18 April, President Ignazio Cassis met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in Tokyo. On the agenda were the war in Ukraine and the related security challenges in Europe and Asia. Other topics included the tasks of both countries in international organisations and cooperation in trade and science.
President Cassis and his Japanese hosts commended the good bilateral relations based on common values. -Japan and Switzerland stand for democracy, the rule of law, multilateralism and a rules-based international order. We are living through a time in which these principles are increasingly being called into question. It is all the more important that we stand up for them together,- said President Cassis. Both countries are candidates for membership of the UN Security Council for 2023/24.
Mr Cassis underlined Switzerland’s commitment to strengthening the rules-based international system. Neutrality does not mean indifference to suspected war crimes and the violation of fundamental norms of international law. In this context, Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the associated effects on security policy in Europe and in Asia were discussed.
Important trade partner
Japan is Switzerland’s second most important trading partner in Asia (excluding precious metals), and a free trade agreement has been in place since 2009. During the official talks on Monday, both sides underlined the high quality of trade relations. President Cassis reiterated that from Switzerland’s point of view a modernisation of the existing free trade agreement would be desirable.
A strengthening of the bilateral partnership in the areas of trade, investment, innovation, science and digitalisation is another important aspect of the presidential visit. On Tuesday, 19 April, President Cassis will discuss these topics in greater depth in separate talks with Takayuki Kobayashi, Minister in charge of Economic Security, and with Karen Makishima, Minister for Digitalisation.
The two countries also work together closely on research matters. Japan is an important country in terms of Switzerland’s bilateral research cooperation. During the presidential visit, a memorandum of cooperation on joint research projects will be signed between the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Visit with three stops
After Tokyo, the visit will include stops in Osaka and Kyoto. In Tokyo on Tuesday, Mr Cassis will attend an event to mark the 40th anniversary of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan (SCCIJ). On Wednesday, 20 April, the delegation headed by Mr Cassis will attend the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the new Swiss Consulate in Osaka. The consulate will also serve as a Swissnex location, giving the global Swiss network for education, research and innovation another main location.
The programme also includes a meeting with the organisers of Osaka’s EXPO 2025, a tour of the Fugaku supercomputer and an event with the Swiss community in the Kansai metropolitan region. On Thursday, 21 April, Mr Cassis will give a speech at Kyoto University on the link between science and innovation and diplomacy.