Economic ties with Belgium talked up

Kyodo

Japan and Belgium agreed Tuesday to strengthen business ties, with Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba calling for support from Brussels for the early start of formal negotiations on a free-trade agreement with the European Union.

Genba voiced Japan’s desire to launch the talks when he met with Didier Reynders, Belgian deputy prime minister who concurrently serves as minister in charge of diplomacy, foreign trade and European affairs, in Tokyo, the Foreign Ministry said.

In addition to business ties, Reynders told Genba that Belgium is interested in expanding cooperation on cutting-edge research and nuclear issues with Japan.