Finland and Japan are building a new strategic partnership, including closer cooperation politically and in the areas of the economy, science and Arctic issues.
During an official visit to Tokyo on Thursday March 10, President of Finland Sauli Niinistö discussed bilateral cooperation between Finland and Japan with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. A joint statement on the strategic partnership was issued in connection with the meeting.
The two leaders shared the view that the changing environment in the Arctic presents new opportunities and challenges to the international community, and that any actions in this region should be taken based on the rule of law. They also reaffirmed the importance of environmental protection, sustainable use of natural resources including energy, mineral, forest, and fishing resources, and protection of rights of indigenous peoples in the Arctic region.
The two leaders confirmed their commitment to advance dialogue and cooperation in their shared interests in the Arctic including further utilization of the Northern Sea Route and economic development of the Barents Region. Japan and Finland are situated at the east and west ends of the Northern Sea Route respectively and both have advanced technologies related to the Arctic.
Japan is one of Finland's key economic partners outside the E.U. and a major investor in the country. "In recent years, the Japanese have made several major investments in Finnish companies, which have proven to be successful," Niinistö said at a press conference held after the meeting.
There are more opportunities for cooperation in areas such as the forest industry, the energy sector and nuclear safety, as well as the various ICT sectors. In addition, frequent direct air links between the two countries and increasing tourism and cultural ties are bringing them even closer together.
The two national leaders also discussed closer cooperation over security policy. Niinistö welcomed Japan's plans to participate more extensively in international crisis management.
The discussions also covered the international situation and regional issues such as North Korea and the disputes over the South and East China seas, as well as the situation with regard to asylum seekers in Europe and relations with Russia.
The joint statement is available here.