New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo¬ç Abe have agreed to further strengthen the Strategic Cooperative Partnership between the countries.
"Japan is increasingly one of New Zealand’s most important partners in the world. We are close friends who share common values and interests," Jacinda says.
"In a challenging and changing global and regional environment, New Zealand and Japan enjoy a stable long-term relationship that in recent years has gone from strength to strength.
"Our countries see eye to eye on many things. Our shared commitment to the rules-based international system makes Japan an important partner for New Zealand especially in the Indo-Pacific region where we share mutual goals.
"In the face of global economic head winds our economic relationship with Japan is becoming even more important for our economy.
"Japan is our fourth largest trading partner and an important source of high quality investment. Japan has total investments in New Zealand of $5.5 billion, up from less than $1 billion in 2001. It’s our sixth largest tourism market with 115,000 Japanese visitors welcomed to our shores every year.
"The CPTPP trade agreement, which came into force on December 30 last year, is already reaping benefits with New Zealand goods exports to Japan increasing by 5 per cent in the first seven months of this year. Key products like beef, kiwifruit, honey and wine have all experienced significant growth this year, earning millions and creating jobs at home.
"We discussed the important role that trade can play in driving women’s economic empowerment. Studies show that greater inclusion of women in the economy could significantly boost global growth. Prime Minister Abe and I agreed to work together with other countries to explore the scope to progress trade and gender issues," says Jacinda.
"New Zealand has welcomed Japan’s increased engagement in the Pacific. Prime Minister Abe and I were pleased to announce a number of initiatives that demonstrate our strengthened cooperation in the region. I am confident these are the first of many projects where we can work together in the Pacific, in line with our Pacific Reset and Japan’s 'Active, Opportunity-filled and Innovative Future' policy.
"We also agreed to enter a Joint Study towards developing a security Information Sharing Agreement which will make the exchange of classified information simpler. It would be only the fourth ISA Japan has, along with the US, Australia and the UK.
"I also thanked Prime Minister Abe for Japan’s ongoing support for the Christchurch Call and welcomed our increasing cooperation in cybersecurity.
"New Zealanders have long enjoyed friendships with the people of Japan, including through education, cultural and sporting contacts.
"I expressed New Zealand deep gratitude to the people of Japan for looking after the All Blacks and our fans during the hosting of the Rugby World Cup and wished then great success in the hosting of the tournament," Jacinda says.