Pretoria – Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yoshimasa Hayashi has affirmed his country’s commitment to elevate trade and economic ties with South Africa.
He was hosting Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Dr Naledi Pandor in Tokyo.
Hayashi said Pandor’s working visit was “highly significant” as it gave the two friendly nations an opportunity to elevate the existing trade relations.
South Africa is home to approximately 160 Japanese companies which are contributing to local jobs, making it the African nation hosting most Japanese entities.
“He (Hayashi) also expressed his intention to deepen co-operation with South Africa by following up on the outcome of the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8), in light of the many challenges,” the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
Among the many challenges, Japan listed “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and North Korea’s launches of ballistic missiles at an unprecedented frequency, and growing uncertainty faced by the international community”.
In addition, Hayashi expressed his gratitude, once again, for the attendance of Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu at the state funeral of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe who was killed in July, and the words of condolence that she gave.
Regarding bilateral relations, the two ministers affirmed that meaningful bilateral discussions were held in each session of the Japan-South Africa Partnership Forum.
On trade, investment, and energy, both ministers affirmed that under the Green Growth Initiative with Africa, announced by Japan at TICAD 8, concrete co-operation was being advanced.
They also said that Japan and South Africa would provide further support for co-operation among both countries’ businesses in fields including renewable energy and hydrogen.
This week, the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) said Pandor has concluded “successful” working visits to the Republic of Korea and the state of Japan.
Pandor visited Seoul from Monday till Wednesday, and she was in Japan on Wednesday and Thursday.
In Seoul, Pandor and her counterpart, Park Jin, co-chaired the inaugural Korea-South Africa Joint Cooperation Commission (JCC).
Pandor said the JCC succeeded in revitalising the bilateral relationship between South Africa and Korea at the political, economic, social and technical levels.
While in the Republic of Korea, Pandor took the opportunity to interact with the leadership of the Korean business community.
She said South Africa remained an attractive investment destination and that the challenges currently facing the world economy required a united international response.
While in Tokyo, Pandor co-chaired the Japan-South Africa Partnership Forum with Hayashi.
“The two ministers focused their discussions on the political, economic, social and technical co-operation between South Africa and Japan. The ministers also exchanged views on regional, global and multilateral issues of mutual interest,” according to Dirco.
In Tokyo, Dirco said Pandor delivered a keynote address at a gathering of Japanese business leaders organised in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organisation.
The event was themed: “Unlocking Africa’s potential through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”.
Pandor said South Africa maintained good bilateral relations with both the Republic of Korea and the State of Japan and that the JCC and the Partnership Forum, respectively, provided opportunities to elevate relations.
From Tokyo, Pandor will join President Cyril Ramaphosa’s delegation on the occasion of the president’s state visit to Saudi Arabia, which is scheduled to start today (Saturday).
Saudi Arabia is South Africa’s second largest trading partner the Middle East and largest source of imports from the region.
The Presidency in Pretoria said the exchange of political and business visits, as well as trade and investment exhibitions and seminars by both countries in the past years, have had a positive effect on trade and investment trends.