Abe meets Macron in Paris; discusses auto alliance and Carlos Ghosn

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris yesterday.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris yesterday.PHOTO: DPA

PARIS • French President Emmanuel Macron and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday discussed the future of the Renault-Nissan alliance and the investigation in Tokyo into alleged financial misconduct by its former boss Carlos Ghosn, Mr Macron's office said.

"This industrial partnership has shown its resilience," a French presidency official said in a statement.

"It is now up to the industry leaders in charge to make the alliance even more solid so that it can face up to the technological disruptions underway in the auto industry," added the official.

The official said France respected Japan's judicial system and that it was closely watching to see that Ghosn's rights were respected.

Japanese prosecutors indicted Ghosn on Monday on another charge of aggravated breach of trust. The charge came on the day that Ghosn's latest detention period was set to expire.

The two leaders also vowed to work together to defend the global trading system.

"We will show a common front" on free trade, innovation and climate issues, the two said in a joint statement.


"We have the same confidence in rebuilding the global multilateral system," Mr Macron added, insisting that the market access should be "open, balanced and fair".

The two leaders have a chance to set the international agenda this year with France chairing the Group of Seven and Japan hosting Group of 20 (G-20) meetings.

Yet their defence of the current trade system may fuel tensions with the United States, where US President Donald Trump says his country has been held back by trade deals that give too many benefits to trading partners, such as China and Mexico.

Their talks at the Elysee Palace in Paris yesterday were expected to also include North Korea, their military cooperation in the Indian and Pacific oceans and bilateral issues, such as nuclear energy cooperation.

Mr Abe embarked on Monday on a tour of Europe, the US and Canada in preparation for the G-20 summit to be held in Osaka in June.

The eight-day tour will see Mr Abe visit France, Italy, Slovakia, Belgium, the US and Canada, where he will hold meetings with leaders.

In Brussels, Mr Abe is expected to meet European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

In talks with Mr Trump, Mr Abe will likely seek to reaffirm the Japan-US alliance with issues of defence and trade thought to be high on the agenda, officials said.

A month after Mr Abe's trip, Mr Trump will visit Japan as a state guest. Mr Abe will return to Japan on Monday, the day before Emperor Akihito's abdication.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2019, with the headline 'Abe meets Macron in Paris; discusses auto alliance and Ghosn'. Print Edition | Subscribe