In view of the war in Ukraine, political discussions will focus primarily on the security challenges in Europe and Asia. Other topics include cooperation between Switzerland and Japan in international organisations and strengthening the bilateral partnership in the areas of trade, investment, science and digitalisation. The two countries enjoy excellent relations and share the common values of the rule of law, democracy and a rules-based international order. Japan is Switzerland's second most important trading partner in Asia after China (excl. trade in precious metals), with a trade volume of around CHF 12 billion per year. Japan is also an important country for Switzerland's bilateral research cooperation. Both countries are also candidates for membership of the UN Security Council for the period 2023/24.
On Tuesday, 19 April, Mr Cassis will meet with Minister in charge of Economic Security Takayuki Kobayashi, and Digitalisation Minister Karen Makishima. He will also attend an event as part of the 40th anniversary of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan (SCCIJ). A panel on the promotion of women in the private sector is planned with Ruth Metzler-Arnold, president of Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), the Swiss agency for export and location promotion, and Kathy Matsui, a pioneer in this field in Japan.
Visits to Osaka and Kyoto focus on science and innovation
On Wednesday, 20 April, President Cassis will take part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the new Swiss consulate in Osaka. The consulate will also serve as a Swissnex location, giving the global Swiss network for education, research and innovation another main location. He will also speak with the organisers of Osaka’s EXPO 2025 and visit the Fugaku supercomputer, whose operators work with Swiss researchers in Zurich and Ticino. An event with the Swiss community in the Kansai metropolitan region is also planned. On Thursday, 21 April, Mr Cassis will give a speech at Kyoto University on the link between science and innovation and diplomacy.
The Swiss delegation travelling to Japan with President Cassis includes State Secretary Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, director of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), and State Secretary Martina Hirayama, director of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), as well as National Council member Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter and Council of States member Thierry Burkart in their capacity as president and vice president of the Switzerland-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Group.
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