Meeting with Japan’s Minister for Reconstruction Hiromichi Watanabe

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Belarus is interested in bolstering relations with Japan, especially in investment, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Hiromichi Watanabe, Japan’s minister for reconstruction, minister in charge of comprehensive policy coordination for revival from the nuclear accident at Fukushima, on 30 June.

The head of state mentioned the fact that Belarus is happy to welcome a high-ranking official from Japan. “It is high time that Belarus and Japan started to build kind, warm and friendly relations,” the Belarusian leader said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that he is very much interested in the development of Japan and its society. “We are happy for your successes and feel for any problems you face. Japan is a very developed industrial country. I had a chance to make sure of it 20 years ago,” the President remarked.

“We’ve made a decision that we should have very close relations, especially in investment, with Japan regardless of the geographical distance. If the Japanese government is ready, we will do it very quickly,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “If your country has interests in this part of the planet – in Europe – you can use Belarus to fulfill your plans.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko believes it would be useful to begin with several joint investment projects in Belarus to know more about each other and create the foundation of relations.

The President also recalled a serious experience of cooperation with Japan, especially in the mitigation of disasters. “Japan was the first country to give a helping hand to Belarus after the Chernobyl disaster. You supported our state, our people in Chernobyl-hit regions, we conducted joint research in the mitigation of disasters. And our joint research came in useful in Japan, especially after Fukushima,” the head of state remarked.

“We are open for cooperation. We can start with the good will of the Japanese government,” Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded.

Hiromichi Watanabe, in turn, thanked the Belarusian head of state for the invitation to attend the closing ceremony of the 2nd European Games. In his words, this sports forum helps unite countries and peoples. “I think we need to deepen our friendly relations in culture and sport,” the minister said.

Hiromichi Watanabe also thanked Belarus for assistance in mitigating consequences of a devastating earthquake which hit the east of Japan in March 2011. The earthquake produced a tsunami near the eastern shore of Honshu and caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.