Published on: 05 June 2018

Bushati in Tokyo:Japan's increased role in the region through the Western Balkans Cooperation Initiative

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ditmir Bushati, met today the Foreign Minister of Japan, Taro Kono, during his official visit in Tokyo. In the joint press statement, which preceded their bilateral meeting, Bushati and Kono expressed the utmost appreciation for the progress of bilateral relations between the two countries since minister’s Bushati first visit to Tokyo in 2015, which culminated in the opening of the Japanese Embassy in Tirana at the beginning of 2017. “I am happy to note the growing interest of Japanese companies to invest in Albania – underlined Minister Kono. This will also contribute to local development of the country. Japan is ready to help all Western Balkan countries in their reform processes towards EU membership, even within the framework of the Western Balkans Initiative launched by the Japanese Prime Minister earlier this year, during his tour to Southeast Europe and the Balkans.”

Minister Bushati considered the opening of the Japanese Embassy in Tirana as an expression of willingness by the Japanese government to strengthen relations with Albania. He thanked the Japanese government for the cooperation they have had so far, as one of our country’s most important supporters in the last 27 years, through Japanese concrete projects for carrying out state-building and economic reforms. “It is now time– underlined Minister Bushati – that we take the economic relations to a new stage, as well as tourism, education and people to people contacts.”

Further on, focusing on the Western Balkans Cooperation Initiative, Minister Bushati emphasized that “Through this Initiative, Japan will contribute to the democratic transformation and economic development of the region, including Albania, given the fact that Japan is a NATO partner, where we are a member, and an EU partner as well. The Japanese technical expertise is valid for all countries in the region.” The two ministers exchanged views on issues regarding developments in the respective regions and the current context of multilateral relations.

Minister Bushati also held a meeting at the Parliament of Japan today. Together with the parliamentary delegation, he met the chair of the Parliamentary Group of Japan - Albania Friendship, Hiroshi Hase and other parliamentarians who played a key role in deepening bilateral relations. This meeting was a good opportunity for exploring new ways of cooperation in the field of economy, tourism, education and science.

The focus of the visit was also to deepen economic relations and promote Albania as a potential investment destination for Japanese projects in the region. In this framework, Minister Bushati held meetings with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). JICA briefed Minister Bushati on the mission he will carry out in Albania the following week to identify potential projects under the Western Balkans Cooperation Initiative.

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