Abe, Rajoy promote strong ties

Kyodo, JIJI

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy agreed Sunday in the city of Santiago de Compostela to promote further economic cooperation and bolster security ties.

In commercial affairs, Spain will help Japanese companies make inroads into the Latin American market, with which the former colonial power has strong ties.

In return, Japan will help Spanish firms expand into Asia, according to Japanese officials.

Explaining his security policy, Abe told Rajoy that his plan is based on the concept of “proactive pacifism,” in which he aims to turn Japan into an active contributor to world peace.

Abe and Rajoy also discussed the situations in Ukraine and East Asia.

Abe expressed his gratitude for the welcome given to Crown Prince Naruhito during his visit to Spain last June to commemorate the 400th anniversary of bilateral ties.

Although Spain was not originally on Abe’s itinerary, he decided to accept Rajoy’s invitation, becoming the first Japanese prime minister to visit Spain in 11 years.

Santiago de Compostela is the hometown of the Spanish prime minister. Earlier on Sunday, Rajoy took Abe around the UNESCO World Heritage sites in the city, including the Route of Santiago de Compostela and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

Spain is the fourth country on Abe’s six-nation trip to Europe, which has taken him to Germany, Britain and Portugal. He will later visit France and Belgium.