Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan discusses bilateral cooperation with Japan's Taro Kono

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kano also signed a memorandum of understanding, under which Singapore and Japan jointly provide technical assistance to third countries.
Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kano also signed a memorandum of understanding, under which Singapore and Japan jointly provide technical assistance to third countries.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/VIVIAN BALAKRISHNAN

SINGAPORE - Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan discussed broader and deeper bilateral cooperation with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kano over dinner on Tuesday (Dec 4), as part of his three-day working visit to Japan that will end on Wednesday.

The ministers also exchanged views on domestic developments in Japan and key regional developments, taking in Asean-Japan relations, the Rohingya refugee situation in Myanmar's Rakhine state and Japan's relations with its neighbours, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

The ministers also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), under which Singapore and Japan jointly provide technical assistance to third countries. The Japan-Singapore Partnership Programme for the 21st Century MOU underscores both countries' commitment to support the future-oriented growth of Asean and the Asia-Pacific through technical assistance.

In a Facebook post on his arrival in Tokyo on Monday, Dr Balakrishnan said: "Japan and Singapore enjoy strong bilateral ties, and have been steadfast partners ever since we established bilateral relations 52 years ago in 1966. Our relationship is underpinned by our close economic cooperation, as well as strong people-to-people ties."

In the last two days, he has met several senior Japanese officials, including general council chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Katsunobu Kato, Komeito chief representative Natsuo Yamaguchi and former defence minister Itsunori Onodera.

In these meetings, Dr Balakrishnan reaffirmed the excellent state of bilateral ties with Japan and explored ways to elevate bilateral and regional cooperation through new areas of collaboration.

On Wednesday, he will meet LDP policy research council chairman Fumio Kishida, former LDP secretary-general and former defence minister Shigeru Ishiba, special adviser to the Prime Minister Hiroto Izumi, Japanese academics and Singaporean business representatives in Japan, before concluding his visit.