Timmermans strengthens ties with Japan

The Netherlands and Japan will investigate ways of working even more closely with each other on political and economic affairs, as recently agreed by Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida.

There is ample scope for closer cooperation in such fields as human rights, international law, energy, agriculture and horticulture. ‘Greenhouses are an especially timely example,’ said Mr Timmermans. ‘Especially in the Fukushima region, which was hit by the tsunami and the nuclear reactor accident, Dutch nationals are currently developing projects for hothouse agriculture. We’re keen to see more of this kind of partnership.’

The Netherlands is also attractive to the Japanese as a site for investment. ‘The Japanese see us as the gateway to Europe,’ said the Dutch minister. ‘Closer cooperation can lead to more investment and thus more jobs in the Dutch economy.’

During his talk with Mr Kishida, Mr Timmermans indicated that the Netherlands appreciates Japan’s standing by its apology made in 1993 for forced prostitution during the Second World War, and its continuation of the exchange programme for Dutch war victims.

Mr Timmermans and Mr Kishida also spoke about the recent judgment of the International Court of Justice requiring Japan to cease whaling in the South Pole region. ‘It is good that the Japanese have reconciled themselves to this judgment,’ said Mr Timmermans. ‘By respecting the law, Japan is once more showing that it is a reliable partner.’ The Netherlands has been advocating an end to whaling for many years.

In his conversation with the Japanese minister Mr Timmermans also welcomed Japan’s plans to step up its contribution to international peace and security.

While in Japan he attended a meeting in Hiroshima of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), a group of 12 countries that are working together by taking practical steps towards these goals.