The Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Jakub Kulhánek and his Japanese counterpart Tomišica Motegi signed a new plan for strategic cooperation between the two countries in Warsaw today. They did so on the sidelines of the meeting of the Ministers of the Visegrad Four (V4 – Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) and Japan, organized by the Polish Presidency of the V4.
Based on the action plan for the period 2021 to 2025, the priority areas of cooperation between the Czech Republic and Japan will include science, innovation and trade in addition to the economy. It also includes cooperation in the field of security and multilateral diplomacy. After China and South Korea, Japan is the third country in Asia with which the Czechia has such relations.
At the meeting with Motegi, the V4 countries called on Japan to deepen its economic engagement in Central Europe. According to the MTI agency, this was stated by the head of Hungarian diplomacy, Péter Szijjártó, according to which cooperation could start an economic boom in the region after the end of the covid pandemic. The Hungarian Minister identified Central European infrastructure projects as a possible area of Japanese activity, especially the envisaged high-speed railway connecting Hungary, Slovakia, the Czechia and Poland.
Today’s meeting at the Royal Castle in Warsaw also focused on joint projects of the V4 and Japan in the Western Balkans, which will be possible to support through the International Visegrad Fund. “We appreciate Japan’s interest in supporting the political and economic transformation of the Western Balkans,” he saidon twitter Kulhánek. According to Szijjártó, these projects should primarily concern health and education.
In an interview published by the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita on the eve of the meeting, Motegi stated that he was looking forward to discussing the prospects of deepening cooperation with the V4 and also building a new order after the covidu-19 pandemic. “There is a growing importance of strengthening cooperation between Japan and the European Union, including Poland and other V4 countries, in maintaining and strengthening an international order based on the rule of law and free and open,” the Japanese minister said.
According to a press release from the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan is the second largest investor in the Czech Republic and the Czech Republic’s second most important trading partner in Asia. Turnover in 2020 reached $ 3.8 billion (80.2 billion crowns). A total of 260 Japanese companies currently employ over 50,000 people in the Czech Republic.