JAPAN FOCUS ON ECONOMIC TIES
VISIT TO ASTANA
Astana, October 28: President
of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
during the latter’s official visit to the Central Asian nation on Oct. 27.
Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe (L) and
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev meet in the Akorda.
Nazarbayev congratulated Abe on his recent reelection and wished him continued success,
especially in light of the current complicated economic situation in the world.
He also expressed confidence that Abe’s first official visit to Kazakhstan will
give a powerful impetus to the strategic partnership between Astana and Tokyo
and bring it to a qualitatively new level.
“Despite Kazakhstan and Japan being
distant neighbours, we are very close friends. The comprehensive development of
relations with your country is one of the most important priorities of our
foreign policy since the early days of our independence. Over all these years,
Astana and Tokyo have been reliable partners. We always support each other; we
have a lot in common. We are allies in nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation
and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. A symbol of friendship between our
countries is our capital, Astana, which was designed by outstanding Japanese
architect Kisho Kurokawa,” Nazarbayev said at the start of the talks
in the Akorda.
The parties discussed economiccooperation between the two countries. During the years 2013-2014, trade
turnover between the countries amounted to about $2 billion, and in the first
half of 2015 it reached $600 million. Over the past 10 years, Japanese
investment in the economy of Kazakhstan amounted to about $5 billion, according
to official Kazakh statistics.
“A number of major Japanese companies
are actively working in Kazakhstan. Fifty joint ventures are functioning, six
joint projects worth more than $700 million have been accomplished, and another
10 projects are underway. I am confident that the entry into force from Oct. 25
of the bilateral agreement on encouragement of mutual protection of investments
will significantly strengthen the legal basis of our relations,” said the
“In recent years Japanese companies have
started to actively operate in Kazakhstan’s market in exploration and
extraction of natural resources, as well as the production industry,” said the
Japanese prime minister. Abe said that the strengthening of the legal framework
for bilateral trade and economic relations, as well as Kazakhstan’s entry into
the World Trade Organisation, significantly expand the opportunities for the
realisation of large joint investment projects and cooperation in general.
“Kazakhstan intends to cooperate with
your country in all directions. Your tour of the Central Asian countries is
important and timely. We support and believe it is necessary to [develop] the
format of interaction ‘Central Asia plus Japan,’” said Nazarbayev.
Abe noted that this was the two leaders’fourth meeting. “And it gives me great joy that on the basis of close
relations, we are actively developing our relations,” he said.
Abe also noted that he arrived in
Kazakhstan with a delegation representing the business community.
“Although Kazakhstan is the last stop on
Abe’s regional tour, it is perhaps the most important. In Astana, Abe will
outline Japan’s Central Asia policy. Japan has no hope, and probably no desire,
to supplant Russian or Chinese influence in the region. But, Japan looks
willing to step in as another option, in addition to bringing to the region a
high degree of technical expertise and experience,” according to a report by
The Diplomat online magazine about the visit.
The business forum in the framework of
the visit provided an additional platform for deepening cooperation. Presidents
of the largest Japanese companies took part in the talks in the expanded
format. They confirmed their desire to work with their Kazakh counterparts.
“We think that our cooperation in the
exploration of rare earth metals, nuclear power, the banking sector, transport
and agriculture is very important,” said Nazarbayev at a joint press conference
in the Akorda.
“We see three areas of cooperation with
Kazakhstan. At first, Japan will continue to support economic reforms in
Kazakhstan. We agreed that we should work together in the field of transport
and logistics,” said Abe.
“The Japanese government will push for
private investment and will support infrastructure building as well as human
resource development. By doing so, business opportunities surpassing 3 trillion
yen ($24.9 billion) will be created,” the Japanese prime minister added.
He also noted that he would like todevelop interaction through sports and culture. “We will suggest Japanese
shows, strengthen training in the Japanese language, as well as develop
communication in sports and so on. I hope that the results of this meeting will
contribute to further strengthening friendly relations between our countries,”
During the busy day, the Japanese primeminister and the President of Kazakhstan visited Nazarbayev University, where
Abe gave a lecture to students and faculty. He noted the importance of
training in the process of the industrial upgrade of Kazakhstan, in which Japan
is ready to provide active assistance.
Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev
at the Kazakhstan-Japan Business Forum inAstana.
“We will continue to support Kazakhstan
though the training of qualified personnel in the field of industry,” said the
Japanese prime minister.
Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev at the Kazakhstan-Japan Business
Forum in Astana.
He also told Kazakh students about plans
to build nuclear power plants in Kazakhstan, which remain not yet finalised by
the Kazakh government. The project is designed taking into account lessons from
the 2011 accident at the Fukushima nuclear power station in Japan, therefore it
has to be the most secure in the world, he added.
At the end of the lecture, Abe was
awarded an honorary doctorate from Nazarbayev University.
On the same day, the Kazakh-Japanese
business forum took place in Astana, attended by representatives of about 100
Japanese companies working in the economy, aviation, aerospace, the auto
industry, electronics, chemicals, finance and real estate, as well as
forwarding and transportation, the food industry, health and others. These
included representatives of the Sumitomo Mitsu Banking Corporation, Toyota
Tsusho Corporation, Cokey Systems Co. LTD and other Japanese companies.
The sides discussed issues of further
trade, economic and investment cooperation, and signed a memorandum of
cooperation between Kazakhstan and Japan in agriculture and agricultural
machine engineering, the creation of a car terminal and a number of other
Kazakhstan and Japan establisheddiplomatic relations in 1992. The two nations maintain a regular political
dialogue at the high level and conduct political consultations.