PARIS – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Francois Hollande have confirmed that their two countries will step up cooperation in combating terrorism.
They also shared concern during their meeting in Paris about China’s ongoing militarization of the South China Sea, while agreeing on the need for stable foreign exchange rates, Japanese officials said.
“We will never permit despicable acts of terrorism,” Abe said at a joint news conference with Hollande on Monday, noting the two countries “will work together in close coordination and play a leadership role” in tackling terrorism.
Abe visited France as part of his current tour in Europe ahead of the annual Group of Seven summit in Shima, Mie Prefecture, later this month. The fight against terrorism is expected to be a major topic of discussion at the summit.
Abe and Hollande also agreed that rapid fluctuations in currencies are undesirable, the officials said.
The Japanese and French leaders also shared the view that the G-7 needs to employ flexible fiscal policy in light of the slowing global economy.
Abe spoke of the need for a G-7 version of the “three arrows” he pushed domestically to fire up the Japanese economy, saying that in addition to monetary policy measures, structural reform and fiscal measures are necessary, according to the officials.
Hollande said the upcoming summit should put emphasis on economic growth, adding that policies to increase demand were important.
In their meeting, they also agreed to collaborate on implementing a landmark accord reached in Paris last December to fight global warming.
With Tokyo and Paris marking the 160th anniversary of friendly ties in 2018, Abe told his French counterpart the Japanese government will organize a Japan-themed exhibition in Paris that year, the officials said.
“I’m pleased that we have agreed on holding the exhibition,” Abe told the news conference. “Both Japan and France put emphasis on culture and will further strengthen cultural exchanges” between them, he added.
Abe had earlier traveled to Italy on the first leg of his trip and proceeded to Brussels later Monday. He is also visiting Germany, Britain and Russia before returning to Japan.
Ahead of his meeting with Abe in Brussels on Tuesday, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said in a written interview with Kyodo News that his country will step up cooperation with Japan and other countries in the fight against terrorism.
He also said negotiations for a free trade deal between Japan and the European Union should be accelerated, saying the agreement will spur growth both in Japan and Europe.