Foreign Minister Steinmeier met his Japanese counterpart Kishida at the Federal Foreign Office on Tuesday, 9 September. The two foreign ministers discussed bilateral issues, as well as current international topics such as the situation in the Middle East and Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida began their meeting on Tuesday, 9 September, with a brief look at the past. They examined historical documents on German-Japanese relations dating from the 19th century that had been provided by the Federal Foreign Office’s Political Archive.
The papers included the friendship treaty signed between Japan and what was then the Kingdom of Prussia in 1861. This treaty paved the way to the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and opened Japanese ports to trade with Germany. In this key document on German-Japanese relations, the two sides promised “eternal peace and constant friendship”.
Close relations between Germany and Japan
During a joint press conference with his Japanese counterpart, Foreign Minister Steinmeier underlined that the ties between Japan and Germany remain very close over 150 years later.
Steinmeier described Japan as an “extremely reliable partner country, with which we work closely within the framework of the G7”. He said that this was also shown by his frequent meetings and telephone calls with Kishida in recent months to discuss international issues such as the situation in the Middle East and Ukraine. Steinmeier added that it had been many years since there had been “such frequent contact between the German and the Japanese Foreign Ministers”.
International strategy against the terrorist militia group ISIS
With regard to the terrorist militia group ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Germany’s Foreign Minister underlined that Germany and Japan “shared the same concerns”.
He called for the influence of radical Islamist and terrorist groups such as ISIS to be curbed, and said that Germany was also playing a role in this endeavour by equipping the Kurdish security forces. Steinmeier added that it was very important to have an international political strategy. “Apart from having a government in Baghdad that endeavours to include all religious and regional groups, there is a need for consensus among the neighbouring Arab countries,” he said.
The German Foreign Minister said that all forms of support for the terrorist organisation ISIS must stop, and announced that the G7 members would discuss these issues during the United Nations General Assembly at the end of September.
Eastern Ukraine: Upholding the ceasefire
Steinmeier and Kishida also discussed the situation in Ukraine. They called on all those involved to uphold the ceasefire agreed for eastern Ukraine. The Foreign Ministers said that securing the border between Russia and Ukraine was important in the implementation of the agreements between the presidents of Ukraine and Russia, Petro Poroshenko and Vladimir Putin, and that the OSCE was needed to achieve this goal. Steinmeier said that Germany was willing to support the OSCE in its work.
He also called on Russia to play its part in implementing the ceasefire agreements. “This also means that Ukraine and Russia will need to reach agreements on withdrawing the Russian fighters and arms still on Ukrainian territory,” Steinmeier said. “We hope that Russia is serious about ending this conflict and that it will not use the current situation to the detriment of Ukraine.”
Steinmeier and Kishida also discussed the conflict in the Middle East and the territorial disputes in the South China and East China Sea.