Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ statement after his meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence in Tokyo. The two leaders signed a Joint Declaration of Strategic Cooperation between Greece and Japan, which upgrades bilateral relations to a strategic level and enhances cooperation between the two countries in areas of mutual interest. After their private meeting, a meeting was held in the presence of the two delegations, followed by a formal dinner.

The full statement by the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, during joint declarations with Fumio Kishida, follows:

Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Thank you. Thank you, Prime Minister for this very warm welcome. And it’s a great pleasure and a great honor to visit Japan and re-energize our relations at the top level after nearly two decades.

Greece and Japan represent two ancient cultures with unique contributions towards civilization. They are also two modern nations, two strong democracies faced with similar challenges and which see eye to eye on key global and regional issues.

I’m very happy about the fact that we are signing a joint statement on strategic partnership. With this statement, our countries are significantly upgrading their strategic relations and we are inaugurating an area of close cooperation across a spectrum of various different policy areas: political, economic, climate, digital education, culture, tourism. And this document that we will be signing is going to be our compass guiding the development of the full potential of our bilateral cooperation for the years to come.

And we had a first opportunity to discuss issues that are of common interest. We’ve identified great opportunities in the field of economic cooperation given that Japan is the world’s third largest economy and Greece is emerging as a reliable and very predictable investment and trade partner.

I had the opportunity to inform the Prime Minister about the progress that we’ve been able to make as a Greek economy growing at almost 5.6% in 2022, almost double the projected Euro area average, and being a most attractive destination for foreign direct investment in the Eastern Mediterranean.

We had an opportunity to review our excellent cooperation on maritime issues as two of the world’s leading seafaring nations and as next year our two countries will mark 125 years of diplomatic relations, we intend to celebrate our year of culture and tourism with a number of events organized across various cities in Greece and Japan.

The Prime Minister pointed out how dramatically the world has changed in 2022 with the Russian unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and no one has been left untouched by the turbulence that this act has caused. We exchanged views on Russia’s aggression and the next steps that the international community needs to take.
And I think our discussions are that much more pertinent given the adoption of Japan’s new national security strategy, which we welcome, and of course in light of Japan’s chairmanship of the G-7 this year. As a NATO member, as a member of the European Union we support the strengthening of relationships between Japan and NATO and Japan and the European Union. I think this is a mutually beneficial relationship, Prime Minister.

And on the war in Ukraine we have fully supported Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity from the very beginning and we’re absolutely determined to stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes. We have one additional sensitivity, Prime Minister, when it comes to Ukraine. Members of the Greek community Mariupol were amongst the first civilian victims during the very first days of the war.

And it is only to be expected that Greece, as is Japan, we are both staunch supporters of such basic principles as the use of nonviolence and the inviolability of borders. International disputes need to be resolved through reference to International Law, and we cannot accept any unilateral change to a status quo through the use of force.

We are firm believers in a rules based international order, where international law is respected and revisionist agendas are simply unacceptable. We will have a further opportunity over dinner to discuss regional challenges.

The situation that you face regarding North Korea’s missile provocations are completely unacceptable. We agreed that we remain firm in our condemnation of these actions. And I will also have the opportunity to brief the Prime Minister on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the unfortunate inflammatory rhetoric and provocative actions by our neighbor Turkey, which undermine regional stability and security. We will always, Prime Minister, keep the window of dialogue open. But as a sovereign nation, we cannot accept any threats to our sovereignty and our sovereign rights.

To sum up, I’m particularly happy that my visit is providing a new momentum to our bilateral relations. Important agreements have been reached and signed. The most important enhancement to our economic ties, of course, will be the agreement on avoidance of double taxation. I think it is very realistic to expect that this agreement will be signed before the end of the year. And I believe that today we have laid the foundations for a blossoming cooperation among like- minded strategic partners.

I am confident that Greece and Japan will continue to work together to fulfill the wishes of our people for durable peace and prosperity. Tomorrow we’ll have another series of meetings with key business leaders and trade representatives. I will have the pleasure of addressing students at Tokyo University. And I would like again to thank you, Prime Minister, for this very warm welcome. I would like to invite you to Greece, to visit Greece and to view firsthand our country’s transformation from a laggard within the European Union to a protagonist, and to continue to take forward this important strategic partnership.

Again, on behalf of our delegation, thank you very much for this warm welcome.