Constructive ties between Japan and neighbours will benefit region, agree Abe and Vivian Balakrishnan

Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan (left) speaking with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on April 25, 2016.
Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan (left) speaking with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on April 25, 2016. PHOTO: MFA

Constructive, peaceful and cooperative ties between Japan and its neighbours will benefit the entire region, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan agreed at a meeting on Monday (April 25) morning.

Both leaders had discussed the important role that Japan plays in keeping peace and stability in Asia, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday night.

Dr Balakrishnan, who is in Tokyo for a four-day introductory visit that ends on Wednesday (April 27), affirmed Japan's strong engagement of South-east Asia and the wider region.

He also welcomed Japan's security policy of "proactive contribution to peace" and its related laws, which would enable Japan to play a greater strategic role in the region within the framework of the United States-Japan Security Alliance, the statement said.

Tuesday (April 26) marks 50 years to the date that diplomatic ties were established between Singapore and Japan, and both leaders on Monday reaffirmed the excellent state of bilateral ties, underpinned by regular high-level exchanges, strong economic links and a common strategic outlook.

Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a separate statement that Mr Abe had conveyed his appreciation to Dr Balakrishnan for the messages of sympathy sent by Singapore leaders, and the Republic's offers to extend aid, in the wake of the Kyushu earthquakes this month that killed about 50 people.

On Monday, Dr Balakrishnan also met Japanese Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa and members of the Japan-Singapore Parliamentary Friendship League, including its chairman Kenji Kosaka and Minister-in-charge of Economic Revitalisation Nobuteru Ishihara.

He also met Mr Sadakazu Tanigaki, who is secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and Mr Natsuo Yamaguchi, who is chief representative of the LDP's coalition partner Komeito.

He was then hosted by Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Seiji Kihara to a welcome reception for the 11th Japan-Singapore Symposium. Dr Balakrishnan will deliver a keynote address at the symposium on Tuesday morning.

Dr Balakrishnan will also meet other Japanese political and business leaders, including his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida, during this trip.