|Last update: 16-May-2006 17:13||NATO Update|
Japanese Foreign Minister debuts at NATO Council
Japan intends to work more closely with NATO, Foreign Minister Taro Aso told Alliance decision-makers in what was the first address by a Japanese Foreign Minister to the North Atlantic Council, 4 May.
Mr. Aso’s visit to NATO Headquarters comes as the Alliance is looking at strengthening its relations with non-member countries.
“We have far too much in common to allow our geographical separation to prevent us from working closely together,” said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer as he welcomed Mr. Aso to the Council.
Time for closer cooperation
The Secretary General stressed that Japan and NATO share the same values, face the same threats and are engaged in many of the same areas, including Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Foreign Minister said that “now is the time” for discussions on deeper relations between NATO and Japan.
NATO and Japan have had a strategic dialogue since the early 1990s, with officials meeting on a biannual basis to discuss security topics of mutual interest.This was the first time that a Japanese Foreign Minister formally addressed the Council.