Ex-personal assistant to father Shinzo Abe: “Azerbaijan has become a key state of the Caucasus”

Ex-personal assistant to father Shinzo Abe: “Azerbaijan has become a key state of the Caucasus”

From September 2 to 8, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kano made a tour of the South Caucasus. The head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry visited Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. Results of the meeting and prospects of Baku’s relations with Tokyo, especially for Vzglyad.az commented Jun Isomura - the Japanese political analyst, senior researcher at the Hudson Institute (Washington), personal assistant to the ex-foreign minister of Japan, Shintaro Abe, the father of the current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. n 1990, Isomura was responsible for preparing the meeting of Shintaro Abe with Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow. Isomura also met with USSR Vice President Gennady Yanaev three days before the August putsch in 1991. Looking from the point of view of accumulated experience, the expert believes that the cooperation between Azerbaijan and Japan promises good prospects, but the influence of Japan will be limited.

- How do you assess the results of the visit of the Japanese Foreign Minister to Azerbaijan? In your opinion, what were the objectives of the visit of the Japanese diplomat?

- Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono visited Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia from 2 to 8 September. As Japanese Foreign Minister’s visit to Azerbaijan after 19 years interval, and to Georgia and Armenia first time. However, Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso visited Azerbaijan at the 48th Asian Development Bank Annual General Meeting in 2015. It was excellent opportunity for maintaining relations between two countries, since Azerbaijan is the key country at Caucasus and more than that playing one of the key roles in the international energy security at the difficult and confusing conditions today.

As Mr. Taro Kono contributed his comment to the Azertac on September 5. The purpose of his visit is for supporting the “Independent Development” of Caucasus region with sharing Japan’s experience and lessons. For that,Japan will continue to contribute for human resources development as the first pillar, and the second pillar is, and the main goal of those human resources should be to facilitate the establishment of “more attractive Caucasus” with the investment flow from other countries, throughout creating infrastructure and favorable business environment.

Of course, it will be not so easy, but it is critically important of stabilityand cooperation of the region what is directly linked to the security of the international community. Mr. Kono’s visit this time will be a milestone for those purposes.

- In your opinion, what is the "Caucasian initiative" that Japan proposed to Azerbaijan?

- “Caucasus Initiative” is the two pillars above. Mr. Kono made this proposal to three countries he visited. Japan’s role will be limited in the South Caucasus; however, Japan will be able to support an initiative and efforts of the South Caucasus.

- Our ministers discussed the issues of opening a direct air link. In addition, Japan has decided to simplify the visa regime for Azerbaijani citizens, the head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry Taro Kono said. How do you feel about this decision?

Both governments signed an ATA (Air Transport Agreement) in 2017. Silk Way West Airline has a direct flight to Japan for cargo. Japan will issue multiple visa to Azerbaijani citizens. It will provide more opportunity for developing deeper relations on business and people between two. It might be an idea three countries of the South Caucasus to get together to develop a direct air link with Japan.

- What can Japan export to Azerbaijan?

- Japan is one of top country on ODA (Official Development Assistance) to Azerbaijan. But trade between two is still quite small. Japan export to Azerbaijan is mainly steel, car, machine and fiber.

- In your opinion, how does Japan evaluate cooperation with other countries of the South Caucasus - Armenia and Georgia?

Many Japanese have affinity with Georgia, since there are three strong Georgian Sumo wrestlers (one retired). Even during the Soviet era, the South Caucasus was always a difficult region. I believe that Japan highly evaluate efforts of Azerbaijan on cooperation with Armenia and Georgia for stability and development the region.

I would like to introduce one sentence from late U.S. Senator John McCain’s farewell message. “We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe”.

Seymur Mammadov
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