Top Japan, France diplomats vow to boost counterterror ties, slam unilateral maritime moves

Kyodo, JIJI

Japan’s foreign minister met his French counterpart in Paris on Sunday, where the two agreed to further cooperate in the international fight against terrorism.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan wants “to advance measures to counter terrorism with France” while Jean-Marc Ayrault, France’s top diplomat, stressed the need for enhanced international cooperation, according to Japanese officials.

The two said during the talks that both oppose any unilateral actions to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas, an apparent reference to China’s aggressive maritime actions in the disputed waters.

Kishida also told Ayrault Japan would extend relief aid worth around $5 million to help the refugees from Syria fleeing that country’s civil war.

Ayrault welcomed the assistance, which will primarily go toward financing medical aid and the removal of land mines. It will be distributed through the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and other international organizations.

Before the meeting, Kishida laid flowers in honor of the victims of last November’s Paris terrorist attacks.

The Group of Seven foreign ministers — from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — will hold talks next month in Hiroshima ahead of the May summit of the countries’ leaders in Ise-Shima, Mie Prefecture.

Kishida has said Japan wants to send a strong message calling for a world without nuclear weapons as host of the G-7 gathering and the world’s sole victim of atomic bombings.

“It is important to let the world’s political leaders … know the reality of atomic bomb victims,” Kishida said. Ayrault said France shares Japan’s goal of disarmament and nonproliferation, according to the officials.

The cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were devastated by U.S. atomic bombings in the closing days of World War II in 1945. Kishida, elected from the city of Hiroshima, will chair the foreign minister’s meeting.

The stop in France wrapped up Kishida’s European trip that also took him to Italy and the Vatican.