Abe bolsters Mexico ties as Latin American tour begins


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto have reaffirmed their commitment to bilateral cooperation and promotion of investment in the areas of oil, shale gas, infrastructure-building and medical insurance.

They also agreed to coordinate efforts toward an early conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations involving the two countries and 10 other Pacific Rim nations, Abe said during a joint news conference after their talks in Mexico City on Friday.

On the first leg of his five-nation tour of Latin America to promote infrastructure exports and strengthen resources and energy development ties, Abe secured cooperation for a stable supply of resources from a country rich in oil and shale gas.

Mexico plans spending equivalent to roughly ¥60 trillion on infrastructure over the next five years, with Abe apparently having promoted the roles Japanese companies can play in such projects.

According to their joint statement, the two leaders also agreed to promote policy dialogue at the summit and foreign ministerial levels, and to upgrade bilateral economic ties.

As Abe pledged continued support for Mexico’s industrial sector, the Mexican president expressed appreciation for the increasing number of Japanese companies starting operations in his country. The two also welcomed progress in bilateral negotiations for a civil nuclear cooperation pact required for Japan to export its nuclear technologies, and in cooperation toward Japanese infrastructure exports.

On North Korea, they expressed grave concerns over the country’s nuclear and missile development and urged it to promptly deal with humanitarian concerns, including its past abductions of Japanese nationals.

Following the Cabinet’s controversial recent decision to reinterpret the Constitution to enable Japan to go to the aid of allies under armed attack, Abe said he gained support from his Mexican counterpart for what the prime minister described as “a stance to make a contribution to the world.”

The leaders also agreed that a comprehensive reform of the U.N. Security Council is important. Japan is poised to bid next year for a nonpermanent Security Council seat from 2016.