First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and Foreign Minister of Japan Tarō Kōno estimated after talks in Belgrade today that relations between the two countries are improving and that there is an increased interest from Japanese companies for investing in Serbia.
Speaking to reporters after speaking with Kōno, Dacic said that Serbia is very respectful and appreciates that Japan, although it acknowledged Kosovo’s independence, did not vote for its admission to UNESCO and Interpol, but was abstained.
The First Deputy Prime Minister thanked Japan for its solidarity and financial assistance, stating that it amounted to €507 million in the last 20 years.
He also said that he reached an agreement with his Japanese counterpart to establish the year 1882 as the initial year of friendship between Serbia and Japan and to begin today with preparations to commemorate the 140th anniversary of that friendship, 2022.
We will propose that the Japanese imperial family visit Serbia then, Dacic said, evaluating the visit of the Japanese minister as evidence of an upward trajectory in Belgrade-Tokyo relations.
Kōno said that the stability of the Western Balkans is a strategic issue for Japan and Tokyo welcomes Serbia’s contribution to peace and stability in the region.
He estimated that Japan-Serbia relations have significantly deepened since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Serbia in January 2018 and that there have been more new Japanese investments in Serbia in recent years.
Serbia is a large source of highly skilled labour and has shown remarkable results in economic reforms, Kōno stressed.