PM Lee Hsien Loong congratulates new Japanese Premier Yoshihide Suga

Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong sent a letter of congratulations to new Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga.
Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong sent a letter of congratulations to new Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga.PHOTOS: LIANHE ZAOBAO, REUTERS

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has congratulated Mr Yoshihide Suga on stepping into his new role as Prime Minister of Japan, which he calls "a valued partner of Asean".

In a letter to Mr Suga on Wednesday (Sept 16), Mr Lee underlined the wide-ranging partnership between Singapore and Japan across areas, ranging from economic cooperation and disaster management to connectivity and capacity-building.

"I understand that one of your priorities will be digitalising your government. The Asean Smart Cities Network can be one platform for us to collaborate in this area," said Mr Lee, referring to the 10-member bloc's collaborative platform that aims to achieve smart and sustainable urban development.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the two countries "have demonstrated the resilience of our excellent relationship", the Prime Minister added.

Earlier this month, Singapore and Japan announced a green lane for essential business and official travel for residents from both countries with effect from Friday to help boost economic recovery for both sides.

"We have worked closely to maintain supply chain connectivity, restore travel, and support the recovery of our economies," said Mr Lee.

"Next year, we mark the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. There is much more we can do together, including to tackle common challenges such as our ageing populations."

Mr Suga was sworn into office on Wednesday, taking the helm from Mr Shinzo Abe who stepped down due to poor health.

Mr Lee said it has been a privilege to have worked with Mr Abe - who served two non-consecutive terms as premier - for close to a decade.

In a valedictory letter to Mr Abe, Mr Lee said: "You leave office with an impressive track record, after achieving a historic milestone by becoming Japan's longest-serving Prime Minister.

"As a signatory to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, Singapore is grateful for the decisive leadership you exercised to bring this agreement to a successful conclusion, after the US withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership."


Calling Mr Abe "a good friend", Mr Lee noted: "You have strengthened our robust relationship, which I look forward to building on with your successor."