Swiss President Guy Parmelin meets Japanese Prime Minister Suga

On Saturday, 24 July, following the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Swiss president Guy Parmelin met Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga. Their talks focused on the close cooperation between Japan and Switzerland in trade and research, as well as on global issues. They also announced the opening of a new consulate in Osaka, which will also include a new swissnex location. This is the sixth location of the Swiss network for education, research and innovation.

In his discussions with Mr Suga, Mr Parmelin paid tribute to Japan’s commitment to the Olympic idea, to which Switzerland attaches great importance as the host country of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Japan is a global priority country in Switzerland’s 2020-23 Foreign Policy Strategy, and relations between the two countries, while rich in tradition, remain dynamic, as both sides emphasised. Switzerland has had a free trade agreement with Japan, its second most important trading partner in Asia, since 2009. The agreement is working well, but Switzerland believes that an update is required. Mr Parmelin underlined this, particularly in view of the countries’ intensive economic relations. Prime Minister Suga indicated that he was open to considering the possibility of an update. Japan and Switzerland also work together very closely on research issues. Japan is a priority country in Switzerland’s bilateral research cooperation. A new Swiss consulate in Osaka was announced on Saturday at a hybrid event in Tokyo, marking a further expansion of swissnex, the Swiss network for education, research and innovation. Due to open in the first half of 2022, this new swissnex location will help to further promote projects between research institutions, universities and start-ups in the two countries, as Mr Parmelin explained. The measures taken by each country to combat the pandemic and international cooperation were also discussed at the high-level talks. While in Japan, Mr Parmelin also held meetings with IOC president Thomas Bach and with experts on regional economic issues. Mr Parmelin attended the Olympic Games opening ceremony together with heads of state and government from all over the world.

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