President Cassis rounds off visit to Japan with an address at Kyoto University

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President Cassis rounded off his visit to Japan on Thursday, 21 April, by delivering an address on the link between science and diplomacy to students at Kyoto University. The focus of the visit was on the war in Ukraine and bilateral relations in the areas of political, economic and scientific affairs. A cooperation agreement on joint research projects was signed and a groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new Swissnex location.

In his address at Kyoto University, President Cassis explained how science diplomacy can help to address the challenges of the 21st century. -We are all dependent on an international system that works, that is capable of recognising the signs of the times with all the associated challenges and opportunities-, he said. -The international community must be able to harness potential developments in scientific research and take the best possible decisions on behalf of all human beings around the world.-

The previous day, Mr Cassis visited Osaka, the hub of the Kansai economic region where, together with State Secretary Martina Hirayama, the director of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), he took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the new Swiss consulate. The consulate will also serve as a Swissnex location, giving the global Swiss network for education, research and innovation another main location.

Research cooperation with Japan

Also on the agenda was a meeting with the organisers of the world Expo in Osaka, which will take place in the autumn of 2025. The planned Swiss pavilion under the heading -Innovative Switzerland- will be devoted to life sciences, environmental protection and artificial intelligence.

In addition, Mr Cassis was given a tour of Fugaku, the world’s fastest supercomputer, whose operators work with Swiss researchers in Zurich and Ticino.

The first two days were devoted to political talks. On Monday, President Cassis met with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in Tokyo to discuss bilateral issues, as well as the impact of the war in Ukraine on security architecture in Europe and Asia. On Tuesday, he met with government representatives responsible for the economy, education and digitalisation to deepen the bilateral partnership in these areas.

Along with representatives from the fields of business and academia, the delegation travelling to Japan with President Cassis included State Secretary Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, director of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), and State Secretary Hirayama. President Cassis was also accompanied by National Council member Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter and Council of States member Thierry Burkart in their capacity as president and vice president of the Switzerland-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Group.