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At the invitation of the Government of Japan, Prime Minister Stephen Harper paid a visit to Japan from March 24th to 26th. On March 25, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met with Prime Minister Harper to acknowledge the strength and dynamism of the Canada-Japan partnership. Japan thanked Canada for its close collaboration in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Canada expressed its deep appreciation for Japan’s leadership on promoting peace, prosperity and democracy in the region. Both leaders pledged to continue bilateral efforts in economic partnership, security cooperation and people-to-people exchange.
During the Summit meeting and the working luncheon, Prime Minister Noda and Prime Minister Harper exchanged views on wide-ranging issues facing the world and the Asia Pacific region, and stressed the need to expand cooperation between Japan and Canada in addressing the global challenges of today. Having reached consensus, the two sides announced a series of important developments, joint milestones and shared intentions. These include the following:
1. Following the March 7, 2012 release of the Report of the Canada-Japan Joint Study on the Possibility of a Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and its positive conclusion finding sufficient common ground to launch the negotiation of a comprehensive and high-level Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the two Prime Ministers concurred to launch bilateral EPA negotiations, paving the way for substantial economic gains to both countries.
2. The two leaders welcomed increased investments and business interests from
Japanese companies in Canada’s energy and mineral resources sector, and highlighted the great potential to further expand bilateral trade and investment to ensure stable supply of such resources through market mechanisms. Both leaders recognized the importance of accelerating their efforts to facilitate cooperation between the private sectors of the two countries including on the trade of natural gas and continuing collaboration on research and technology in these sectors.
3. With a view to strengthening bilateral peace and security cooperation, the two sides affirmed their commitment to furthering negotiations toward an Acquisition and Cross-Services Agreement or a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement in 2012.
4. The two sides reaffirmed the progress in updating the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Government of Canada and the Government of Japan on Standard Operating Procedures in Support of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Missions. The two leaders decided to designate Nagoya Airport as an alternative airport for use by the Government of Canada to support HADR missions.
5. Canada welcomed Japan’s initiative to host a ministerial conference on Afghanistan in Tokyo in July. The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to making meaningful contributions toward rebuilding Afghanistan into a viable country that is better governed, more stable and secure and never again a safe haven for terrorists.
6. Based on the recent co-dispatch of Canadian and Japanese lecturers to a Civil-Military Cooperation Operator Course in Tanzania, the two sides intend to continue their contributions to capacity building in peacekeeping in Africa.
7. The two sides highlighted progress under student exchange programs in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, including an extension of Canada’s Hope for Youth initiative to continue to support students from the disaster-affected region to study in Canada and the launch of Japan’s Youth Exchange Project with Canada (Kizuna (Bond) Project), which will promote understanding and provide information about recovery efforts in Japan.
8. The two leaders welcomed the intention of both governments to update the Working Holiday arrangements.
9. The two leaders recognized the significant achievements made under the Japan-Canada Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement, which marked its 25th anniversary last year, including the recent signings of a memorandum on the epigenetics of stem cells between the Canadian Institute of Health Research and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and a memorandum on renewable energy and energy use between the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), as well as the workshops in the field of stem cell and nanotechnology held in 2011, to discuss possible research areas in both fields. The two sides shared the aspiration to maintain momentum toward the coming 12th Japan-Canada Joint Science and Technology Committee.
10. Recognizing a Memorandum for Promotion of Space Cooperation to be signed in the coming days, both leaders shared the intention to further their collaboration in peaceful uses of outer space.
11. The two leaders announced the launch of discussions to enhance mutual cooperation for the promotion of aviation safety between Transport Canada Civil Aviation and the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau.
12. Both sides applauded the opening of Canada’s Satellite Office within the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry as a means to increase commercial ties between the two nations.