Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite, right, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe walk together for their meeting at the President's palace in Vilnius, Lithuania, Saturday. Photo: AP

Japan enters cooperation pact with Baltic countries


Japan's prime minister said Saturday his country has entered into a pact with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to boost economic and political ties with the three former Soviet republics.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis said after meeting in Riga, Latvia's capital, that information technology, transportation and medicine are areas where Japan sees the most trade potential in the Baltic countries.

Abe praised the cargo harbor in Riga as "a successful center of transportation and logistics" that will allow Asian suppliers to deliver goods to the region.

The four-way Japan-Baltics trade pact is likely to yield benefits for Tokyo only once a larger partnership deal between the European Union and Japan has been ratified.

Abe, accompanied by a sizable Japanese business delegation, and Kucinskis both urged rapid ratification of the EU-Japan trade deal reached in December.

"I am glad that economic partnership treaty negotiations between Japan and the European Union have been concluded," Abe said, referring to the free trade agreement that will open EU markets such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania to Japanese companies and vice versa.

Latvia is the second leg of Abe's six-nation European tour that started in Estonia on Friday. Abe is scheduled to also visit Lithuania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania. He is the first sitting Japanese prime minister to ever visit those countries.

Abe arrived in Lithuania Saturday afternoon to meet with President Dalia Grybausakaite and Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, and to honor a late Japanese diplomat based in Lithuania during World War II. Chiune Sugihara is credited with helping save about 2,500 European Jews in 1940 by issuing them travel visas.

Abe said he discussed with Lithuanian leaders closer cooperation between the Baltic states and Japan in the areas of defense, economics and cybersecurity. He also thanked Lithuania for its support amid the tension over North Korea's missile tests.

"We have to increase our cooperation in this field to increase pressure on North Korea and condemnation of its actions" he said.

He is set to visit Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania over the next three days.

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©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Watch out! Free trade with Japan is not actually free trade, what about beef, grain and other agricultural products? Japan has many so called hidden trade barriers that inhibit and restrict imported products - thus greatly driving up the cost of imported goods.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Awful timing, poor or even an miscalculation of/to future political influence.

Essentially the government of china, a belt 'n' blaggers road to thievery.

Yes,  frankly a blatant to attempt to exploiting the multitude of political and economic weaknesses of an European Union that will ultimately be at the hegemony of a resurgent government of china, and Russian Federation (Nord Stream 2) at the expense politically and economically of foolishly european commission expansion east without any consideration for or to the long term implication.

Now add to this, a German government hobbled, about to replace a grand coalition with an alliance of losers.

Abe san is in the wrong place at the most inappropriate time.

Abe san must warn and persuade the Baltic regions of the chinese governments deception for others tofoot the bill without recourse to an legal compensatory scheme.....

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Putin desperately wants to reconquer the Baltic nations, so anything that strengthens ties with them makes it harder for him to do that.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is a visit to EU as well asNATO countries and its not Centralasia aslast year.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Putin desperately wants to reconquer the Baltic nations

Nonsense. What for? In Soviet times the Baltic republics had two selling points: highly developed manufacturing industry and good sea ports. Now the manufactury is dead, they killed it in favor of EU subsidies, and the Russians were clever enough to build their own ports. In 2020 EU will stop paying the subsidies and then it will be over for them - no work, no future. Young people are leaving the three republics in masse, they've lost about twenty percent of the population due to emigration.

Abe is losing time and squandering our tax money on this visit, there is nothing of interest there for Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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