• Kyodo

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Japan and Switzerland signed an agreement at their summit Wednesday to liberalize aviation services between the two countries, which could further enhance their economic relations.

At a meeting in Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Swiss President Didier Burkhalter observed the ambassadors of each country sign the so-called open skies agreement that will allow airlines to freely set flight routes and determine the number of services.

“I hope (the agreement) will further increase trade and investment as well as human interaction between the two countries,” Abe said at a joint press conference afterward.

The accord was reached last July by their aviation authorities to liberalize the rules and regulations of civil aviation markets in both countries. It is expected to intensify competition among airlines and help lower airfares.

All airports in Japan and Switzerland are subject to the latest deal, except Haneda airport in Tokyo.

The agreement is an addition to a set of legal frameworks designed to strengthen bilateral economic ties, including a free trade pact signed in 2009, between the world’s third-biggest economy and the European country increasingly reliant on a steady tide of foreign investment.

In their summit, Abe and Burkhalter agreed to promote bilateral cooperation in addressing global issues, including international disputes as intermediaries.

A conference to end Syria’s civil war was held last month in Montreux, Switzerland, with Japan among participants along with key players such as the United States, Russia and the United Nations.

Japan “will increasingly contribute to peace and stability in regions and the international community,” Abe said, while Burkhalter underscored his intention “to develop dialogue with Japan in the area of international security.”

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