- Minister Serret has met with representatives of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Union Ambassador to Japan, Jean-Eric Paquet
event_note Press Release
It is the fourth and last day of Minister Meritxell Serret i Aleu’s institutional visit to Japan, a visit that Serret has deemed “extremely positive” because “it has served to reinforce the good relations between Catalonia and Japan, which will take a definitive step forward in 2024” with the inauguration of the Government of Catalonia Delegation to Japan, planned for the first half of the year, the renewal of the Japan Action Planand the bilateral agreement signed between the governments of Catalonia and Kyoto.
Within the framework of these excellent relations that have existed since the 1980s, Serret announced that the Catalan Government is working to establish a direct flight between Barcelona and Tokyo, a historical demand that, with the consolidation of cooperation between the two countries, will be even more necessary: “We want to make this a reality as we also strengthen contacts in the business, research, tourism and cultural fields”. The direct flight was one of the topics discussed at the meeting that Serret and the Government Delegate to Japan, Mònica Castellà i Pujadó, held in Tokyo with representatives of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In addition to explaining the priorities of the new Delegation, another of the conversation’s key points was the drafting of the new Japan Plan, the document that will coordinate relations between the two governments, which is now in its fifth edition and will cover the period 2024-2027.
At the same time, Serret and Castellà held a meeting with members of Parliament from various groups in the Japanese Senate, with whom they reviewed the current political situation in Catalonia.
Full coordination with the European institutions
The minister and the delegate also met with the EU Ambassador to Japan,Jean-Eric Paquet. During the meeting, they explored new avenues of collaboration in areas such as green hydrogen, semiconductors, biomedicine and university student exchanges, along the lines of the EU-Japan Region-to-Region Innovation Cooperation project.
“Catalan foreign action is fully coordinated and aligned with the objectives of the European Union on an international scale”, Serret said, stressing that the Government Delegation to Japan will make it possible to reinforce and extend the good synergies with European institutions. These meetings have intensified over the last year, as Serret has also met with EU representatives during her trips to Tunisia and, very recently, to the Republic of Korea, among others.
Promotion of development cooperation and the agri-food sector
The agenda for the last day of the institutional trip to Japan included several other events. For example, Serret met with representatives of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), giving them her assurance of the Catalan Government’s desire to “explore all the possibilities for cooperation, as this is one of the priorities of the Government’s foreign action”. The main objective of the talks was to study joint development cooperation and education projects in areas such as the Mediterranean, North Africa and Latin America.
Finally, Serret and Castellà opened Catalan Week in Japan, organised by Prodeca with the aim of promoting Catalan gastronomy and catering to the Japanese public. The goal, according to the Minister for Foreign Action and European Union, is “to further strengthen the positioning of the Catalan agri-food sector in the Japanese market”, especially with a view to 2025, when Catalonia will be the World Region of Gastronomy.
Concluding her trip, Serret, who was also interviewed byMainichi Shimbun, one of Japan’s leading newspapers, said: “We will continue to position Catalonia in all spheres and to tell the world about us, and in 2024 we will continue to make progress in the good relations between Catalonia and Japan”.