Hideki Asari, Charges d’Affaires ad interim, Embassy of Japan, New Delhi, in conversation with Gateway House
Gateway House (GH): What are Japan’s priorities as the chair of G20?
Hideki Asari (HA): Prime Minister Abe had said, upon Japan’s assumption of the G20 presidency, that their goal was to materialise an open, inclusive and sustainable society in the future. He would, therefore, first promote efforts, centred on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and solving global issues, such as climate change. He said it is necessary to promote free trade and innovation, and simultaneously achieve economic growth and address inequality.
The prime minister also said that Japan will lead the discussion on the provision of international public goods, such as global healthcare or quality infrastructure. The G20 will also be a good opportunity to showcase the concept of Society 5.0 which Japan has been promoting – and the productivity revolution it will entail. These are some of Japan’s priorities during its presidency. The details will follow in the run-up to the G20 Osaka summit to be held at the end of June.
GH: What are the areas of convergence between India and Japan within this agenda?
HA: I’d like to emphasise the special strategic and global partnership between the two countries; India and Japan have been working on various matters, and the G20 is no exception. There are many areas of convergence: Japan and India have been working on the SDGs and on free trade, evident in their cooperation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations, and on quality infrastructure, a point confirmed by the two prime ministers in joint statements they have made in the past. Japan and India, which are the third and sixth largest economies of the world respectively, have special responsibilities to work together for the betterment of the world. In fact, when Japanese foreign minister, Taro Kono, visited India earlier this month, he and Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj agreed to work closely for the G20’s success this year, and Japan looks forward to this.
Hideki Asari is Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in India.
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