BUILDING BONDS: Audronius Azubalis (left) met with Seiji Maehara while on a visit to Japan to discuss cooperation and strengthen business ties.
VILNIUS - On Nov. 4 in Tokyo, during his visit to Japan, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Azubalis held a meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Seiji Maehara and expressed trust that Lithuanian-Japanese contacts in the area of development cooperation would be strengthened, reports news agency ELTA. Minister Azubalis thanked Japan for successful cooperation in the reconstruction of Afghanistan’s Ghor province. According to the minister, joint activities in the province of Ghor have given “a new important dimension” to the relations between Lithuania and Japan.
“We only have to imagine how our joint efforts are changing people’s lives in Ghor. They can benefit from hospitals, childcare centers and roads that we have built,” Minister Azubalis said.
At the ministerial meeting, current issues of bilateral political and economic relations, perspectives for further cooperation between Japan and the European Union, regional issues and possibilities to strengthen Lithuanian-Japanese cooperation in the international arena were discussed.
Minister Azubalis acquainted the Japanese Foreign Minister with plans for the Lithuanian chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2011 and Lithuania’s preparation to hold the EU Presidency in 2013.
According to the Lithuanian minister of foreign affairs, the two countries share a common understanding and enjoy active cultural exchanges, but the already existing good relations have to be strengthened by developing economic cooperation and by creating the necessary legal basis through the signing of the most important economic agreements on investment protection, double taxation and scientific research.
On the same day, Minister Azubalis and the business mission, which arrived in Japan together with the foreign minister and which is comprised of representatives from the Lithuanian laser industry, visited the RIKEN research institute and met with its president, Nobel Prize winner Ryoji Noyori.
The foreign minister visited RIKEN research laboratories and acquainted Noyori with Lithuania’s plans in the area of a knowledge-based economy. The minister and Noyori discussed specific possibilities for cooperation between Riken and Lithuanian research institutes.
RIKEN is among the most important research institutes in Japan; its comprehensive research operation spans the fields of physics, chemistry, medical science, biology, etc. The institute was created in 1917. Today RIKEN has some 3,000 contract researchers. Its research budget is 96 billion yen per year (869.5 million euros).
On Nov. 4, the Lithuanian minister of foreign affairs also met with the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives of Japan’s Diet (the Parliament), Tadamasa Kodaira. At the meeting, the interlocutors discussed key issues of bilateral cooperation. Minister Azubalis invited the Chairman of the Committee to pay a visit to Lithuania.
At the meeting in Tokyo on Nov. 5, Azubalis and Japanese Senior Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Motohisa Ikeda discussed developing a legal framework for bilateral economic cooperation through the signing of the most important economic agreements on investment protection, double taxation and scientific research. The priorities of bilateral economic cooperation were also discussed and the Lithuanian investment and innovation policy was presented at the meeting, which was also attended by Vice-Minister of Economy of Lithuania Mindaugas Petrauskas.
On the same day, Minister Azubalis attended a business seminar that was organized by the Lithuanian Embassy in Japan together with the EU-Japan Center for Industrial Cooperation. The seminar focused on opportunities for investment in Lithuania and Lithuania’s achievements in the laser industry. The foreign minister invited Japanese entrepreneurs to invest in Lithuania and to deepen cooperation in the fields of renewable sources of energy, innovation, scientific research, nano- and biotechnology.
Minister Azubalis and his business delegation were in Japan from Nov. 3-5.