11th session of the Central Asia plus Japan Dialogue held in Tokyo

28/03/2016 14:37
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, March 28, 2016, Asia-Plus – The eleventh session of the “Central Asia plus Japan” Dialogue took place in Tokyo on March 25.

The session was attended by deputy foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and the special representative of Japan’s Foreign Ministry for Central Asia. The Tajik delegation was headed by First Deputy Foreign Minister, Nizomiddin Zohidi, according to the Tajik MFA information department. 

The meeting reportedly focused on issues related to further expansion of multilateral cooperation in the fields of transportation and logistics, trade and investment, regional security, and expansion of humanitarian and cultural cooperation.

On the sidelines of the session, Tajik deputy foreign minister held meetings with Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, Ms. Miki Yamada, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs for Japan, and  Mr. Toshihiro Aiki, Special Representative in charge of Central Asia (Ambassador), Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Zohidi’s discussions with Japanese officials reportedly focused on state and prospects of further expansion of bilateral cooperation between Tajikistan and Japan.

The Central Asia plus Japan Dialogue is a political initiative between Japan and the Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, with the goal to create “a new framework for cooperation, thereby elevating relations between Japan and Central Asia to a new level”.  The dialogue, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, is also meant to serve as a forum to promote inter-regional cooperation.  Turkmenistan, maintaining its policy of neutrality, participates only as an observer.

The dialogue was formally declared on August 28, 2004 in Astana, Kazakhstan at a meeting of foreign ministers from the four participating Central Asian governments and Japan. A joint statement was issued which outlined the parties' views on four areas: fundamental principles and values, expansion of Japanese-Central Asian relations, intra-regional cooperation within Central Asia, and cooperation in the international arena.  The joint statement also outlined several areas of potential Japanese-Central Asian cooperation.

Japan's efforts to create the “Central Asia plus Japan” dialogue are part of its "Silk Road diplomacy", a term used for Japan's current Central Asia policy.  This policy has two distinct goals: to further enhance bilateral relationships in the region, and to promote regional dialogue.  The "Central Asia plus Japan" initiative is an attempt to encourage the latter.

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