Austria’s new ambassador to Japan, Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, said Wednesday he hopes to work for a more matured partnership between his country and Japan, which last year marked the 130th anniversary of bilateral relations. In order to expand ties, the two countries will have to develop more mutual trade and investment relations, he said during a visit to The Japan Times. Outside economic areas, he said political dialogue and cooperation must be further promoted so that both countries assume their global roles in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. He cited as a possibility of political and security cooperation collaboration between Japan and Europe to bring stability to areas such as Central Asia, Schweisgut said. While working as minister at the Austrian Embassy in Tokyo from 1987 to 1991, during the bubble years, many Austrians visited Japan to see the “Japanese model,” he said. As ambassador, he said he will try harder to encourage Austrian people to come to Japan, which he described as a strong, affluent country with many technological developments. Schweisgut said he wants Japanese businesses and politicians to take greater interest in Austria, as the European center shifts further east to more fully include Central and Eastern Europe. Referring to remarkable developments in Japan-Europe relations since he served as embassy minister here, Schweisgut said nobody would believe 10 years ago that Japan and the EU would coordinate on WTO talks. At that time, he said, Japanese were more skeptical about the European integration and the two sides were more confrontational over trade issues. Schweisgut assumed the ambassador’s post Nov. 1.
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