Germany and Japan want to intensify their cooperation, particularly on economic issues, said Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday after the first German-Japanese government consultations in Tokyo.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the talks would take the already strong ties between the two countries “to a new level”.
There were few concrete outcomes outlined by leaders, but both stressed the need to strengthen and diversify supply chains, which have been impacted by everything from the pandemic to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Germany is Japan’s top trading partner in Europe, while Japan is Germany’s second-biggest trading partner in Asia after China, although it’s 18th-biggest trading partner overall, lagging behind much of Europe.
Germany’s Scholz in Japan: Nina Haase from DW in Tokyo
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Lessons from COVID, War in Ukraine
Scholz, who was accompanied by several ministers and a business delegation, said both countries are keen to learn the “right lessons” from the economic dependencies exposed by the pandemic disruptions and war in Ukraine.
“In our talks about economic security, we talked about strengthening supply chains,” Kishida said.
Kishida also said the war in Ukraine made it all the more important for Japan and Germany to intensify security cooperation.
Both nations want to “strengthen their influence in strategic sectors, including natural resources, semiconductors and batteries, and share best practices to address risks,” he added.
A joint statement by the defense ministers of both countries said they would work on new Bundeswehr operations in the region and on joint exercises.
They also promised “a legal framework that would facilitate joint activities” by both militaries. Scholz said the Bundeswehr will conduct a tour of the Asia-Pacific region “in the coming years”.
The German Bundeswehr had already sent a warship and combat aircraft to the Pacific region to strengthen cooperation with friendly forces there. It is planned to participate in exercises again this year.
dh/msh (dpa, AFP)