Japanese Ambassador to Norway Hiroshi Kawamura shares his thoughts on existing and future trends of partnerships between Norway and Japan.
Bridges: What economic and diplomatic exchanges are taking place between Norway and Japan?
Kawamura: Japan and Norway are both maritime nations and partners sharing fundamental values including freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
Both countries have also been cultivating friendly relationships for a long time and have cooperated with each other in fields such as maritime, fisheries, arctic issues, science and technology, sustainable development, climate change and the marine environment.
Japan and Norway have also strengthened cooperation, not only in their bilateral relationship, but also in the multilateral arena, such as the United Nations, the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, the Arctic Council, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee and elsewhere.
What are the most significant areas of cooperation between the two countries?
Recently, climate and energy are two of the most critical agendas in the context of bilateral cooperation between Japan and Norway and in international fora.
Japan has set a goal of Japanese society becoming carbon neutral by 2050. On the basis of this, and in addition to the Green Growth Strategy which was formulated in December 2020, Japanese Prime Minister (Fumio Kishida) announced in January this year that the government of Japan plans to formulate a clean energy strategy that will demonstrate concrete road maps of this field.
Given this background, an increasing number of cooperative projects between Japanese and Norwegian companies have been arising especially in the last few years. Such cooperation includes the development of offshore wind, hydrogen and ammonia as fuel, batteries for ships and capture and transport of carbon dioxide.
The governments of Japan and Norway also have been working closely in establishing new international regulations in the International Maritime Organization, such as those for reducing GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions from international shipping.