News ID: 315622
Published: 0202 GMT August 21, 2021

Motegi calls Japan-Iran ties amicable, unchangeable ahead of Tehran visit

Motegi calls Japan-Iran ties amicable, unchangeable ahead of Tehran visit
REUTERS

International Desk

Relations between Tokyo and Tehran are friendly, age-old and unchangeable, said Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi in an exclusive note to IRNA ahead of his visit to Iran.

Motegi is expected to visit Tehran today for talks with the new Iranian government under President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi.

Quoting diplomatic sources, The Japan Times said Motegiis expected to hold talks with Raeisi and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

He is also planned to meet with Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, a former Iranian deputy foreign minister who is ‎expected to succeed Zarif in the new administration, the newspaper added. ‎

“I am very pleased with the visit to Iran, which has a history dating back to the ancient empires that ruled Persia and holds the key to resolving the issues and addressing the situation in the present-day Middle East,” said the Japanese foreign minister.

Motegi added that he deeply remembers his first trip to Iran taken while he was a university student, during which he had been impacted by the country’s great cultural heritage, such as Persepolis, and had the opportunity to be in contact with the hospitable Iranian people.

He said at present, Tokyo is offering technical cooperation to Tehran through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Cooperation Center for the Middle East (JCCME) by dispatching experts and holding training courses in fields where they has made considerable advances, such as medicine, environment, earthquake, water and electricity.

“However, such relations between Japan and Iran, which are based on people-to-people exchanges, have, as a matter of fact, a longstanding historical background dating back to over 1,000 years ago.”

He said althoughJapan is located in East Asia and Iran in the western part of the continent, the Shōsō-in, the treasure house of Tōdai-ji Temple in Nara Prefecture – which is known as Japan’s ancient capital – is home to treasures found over 1,000 years ago outside the country, such as glassware belonging to the Sassanid Empire, which are kept and protected with great care.

In addition, Motegi said, the name of an Iranian official, who is said to had taught different sciences such as astronomy – an advanced field of study at that time – to the Japanese, was inscribed on a wooden slate discovered in the ruins of a palace in Nara Prefecture.

He described Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in which many athletes from Iran participated and will take part, as the most recent instances of people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

The minister said although the number of foreign visitors to Japan and,thus, spectatorswas limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Iranians managed to snatch three golds, two silvers and two bronzes in the Olympic Games.

“I would like to seize the opportunity to congratulate Iranian people on their representatives’ success in winning the medals. I hope that a large number of Iranian athletes would manage to collect medals in the Paralympic Games, which will begin on August 24.”

Motegi noted that although the spread of the new strain of the coronavirus, known as Delta, has severely restricted intercountry travels, he hopes that following the end of the pandemic, the people-to-people exchanges between Japan and Iran would further increase.

He stressed that in addition to their people-to-people exchanges, it is necessary for the two countries’ governments to strengthen their bilateral ties.

“Thus, I decided to travel to Iran to exchange views with the administration of the country’s newly inaugurated President Raeisi at the first opportunity.”

He said after about two years, this is the first time that a Japanese foreign minister is visiting Iran, noting in addition, the trip marks the first talks between Iran’s new government and a senior official of a developed Asian state.

“I am enthusiastically looking forward to honest consultations between the two countries for the further expansion of their friendly and age-old relations.”

In late June, Japan donated close to 2.9 million doses of a domestically produced COVID-19 vaccines to Iran as part of its support for the country in its efforts to curb the coronavirus spread, Motegi said adding, “In view of the two countries’ amicable and longstanding ties, I personally backed the decision.”

The move marked the largest jab donation by Japan to another country and the fastest vaccine donation within the framework of COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) program, he added.

“It would be my pleasure if the support would contribute to the strengthening of the relations and cooperation between Japan and Iran.”

The minister said for Japan that meets close to 90 percent of its needs to crude oil through imports from the Middle East, peace and stability in the region is of the utmost importance, adding sustainable oil supply by the Middle East is very important for the stability and growth of the global economy and Japan.

“No doubt, Iran, as a great country in the Middle East region, plays a very important role in this regard.”

Motegi gave the assurance that in light of its friendly and longstanding relations with Iran, Japan will continue its diplomatic and active efforts to reduce tensions in the Middle East and ensure stability in the region, saying Japan will also endeavor to improve ties with Iran.

Earlier, the Iranian Embassy in Japan twitted that the visit can open a new chapter in relations between Tehran and Tokyo.

The visit comes as part of Motegi’s tour of regional countries, on which he has already visited Turkey and plans to travel to Iraq, Qatar and Egypt after Iran trip.

 

   
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