By Kamila Aliyeva
A meeting of Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono, who is on a two-day visit to Baku, was held on September 5, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said in a message.
Japan has decided to simplify the visa regime for Azerbaijani citizens, Taro Kono said at a joint press conference, which followed the meeting.
Japan wants to strengthen multi-vector relations with Azerbaijan, he noted.
“We hope that after this visit, friendly relations between the two countries will develop even more,” Taro Kono said.
The Japanese minister expressed satisfaction with the implementation of the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) project in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, in which Japan's Itochu Corporation holds a 3.65 percent stake.
A contract on the ACG was signed in 1994. A ceremony to sign a new contract for development of the ACG block of oil and gas fields was held in Baku on September 14, 2017.
“This will give an even greater impetus to our cooperation,” Taro Kono added.
Speaking at the conference, Mammadyarov announced that a direct flight between Azerbaijan and Japan may be opened.
He went on to say that the issues of bilateral cooperation were discussed at the meeting.
“The relations between the countries are at a high level. There are 30 Japanese companies operating in Azerbaijan and to this day Japan has invested about $ 7 billion in Azerbaijan, which mainly fall for the oil sector. During the meeting, issues of investment in various spheres of the economy were discussed. The number of tourists arriving from Japan to Azerbaijan is also growing. For the development of mutual tourist flow today, we also discussed the issue of launching a direct flight between Japan and Azerbaijan,” the Azerbaijani foreign minister added.
He said that Japanese companies are interested in participating in infrastructure projects in Azerbaijan, noting that Japan is showing great interest in the development of the North-South and East-West transport corridors.
One of the issues discussed at the meeting was the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“Japan's position on this issue is clear. They believe that this conflict should find its solution in the near future,” Mammadyarov said.
Azerbaijan and Japan established diplomatic relations in 1992. Over the period of cooperation, more than 20 agreements in the humanitarian, economic and other spheres have been signed. The two countries have established inter-parliamentary friendship groups, as well as a joint intergovernmental commission.
According to the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee, trade turnover with Japan in January-July 2018 amounted to about $148.5 million. Almost the entire amount of turnover fell on the import of Japanese products to Azerbaijan.