Ardern and Abe commit to working together as 'natural partners', as PM visits Japan

Jacinda Ardern has described her meeting today with Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, as “very positive” as they discussed a wide range of issues.

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The pair discussed a wide range of topics when they met today. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Ardern said the partnership between the two countries was based on common values such as freedom, democracy, rule of law and human rights.

The pair discussed a deeper, high-value trade and investment relationship, greater cooperation in the Pacific; and strengthening the security partnership between the two countries.

"Japan and New Zealand have long standing ties at the political, trade and economic levels, which will continue to grow in new and innovative ways with the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the respective flow on benefits that agreement with have to businesses in both countries.

“We discussed our shared desire to further regional and economic integration through expanding the membership of CPTPP. New Zealand and Japan are working closely together on its implementation and new member accession,” Ms Ardern said.

She said a particular highlight of the discussion was the “growing area of space cooperation” and committed to working towards a partnership arrangement on bilateral space cooperation with Japan, which will she said will benefit “New Zealand’s burgeoning space industry”.

The recent extension of eGate access to Japanese nationals was also mentioned, Ms Ardern said the move “will boost people to people connections between Japan and New Zealand by facilitating tourism, business and education travel by Japanese citizens to New Zealand and make travelling to and from our countries easier”.

Minister of Customs Jenny Salesa says she welcomed the extension.

Ms Ardern and Mr Abe also agreed work together on women’s economic empowerment through trade, and to explore cooperative initiatives with other like minded countries.

“Participation in trade is associated with a number of benefits, such as generally higher pay. In both New Zealand and Japan, women tend to be under-represented in the export sector,” Ms Ardern said.

A Joint Declaration on Pacific Cooperation was also announced, with the two countries agreeing to boost New Zealand’s development cooperation in the Pacific.

This is expected to be issued by New Zealand’s Foreign Ministers later this year.

“Together we are working towards projects which support Pacific priorities and complementary strengths, such as renewable energy, climate change, infrastructure and addressing fisheries and maritime needs,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Ms Ardern acknowledged Mr Abe’s early support for the Christchurch Call to Action following the March 15 Christchurch terrorist attack.

“We thank Japan for being a founding supporter of the Call and for engaging very constructively in early discussions and development of the Call commitments,” she said.

Leading on from this they also talked about the importance of closer cooperation on cyber-security and the role that more formal bilateral dialogue could play.

“Our shared commitment to the rules-based international system makes Japan an important partner for New Zealand in the Indo-Pacific.

“We also discussed how we would work more closely together to maintain the security and stability of our region. We have agreed to commence a joint study towards negotiating a security Information Sharing Agreement between Japan and New Zealand,” Ms Ardern said. 

Jacinda Ardern is in Japan for a week-long trip, before travelling to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.