The Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has commended Ireland's efforts to "free the country from the debt crisis".
Despite the “difficult conditions” the country was “not being derailed from the principle of free trade and continues to strive towards growth”, he added after holding talks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin yesterday. “Ireland’s attitude is to be lauded,” Mr Abe said.
He said that it was encouraging that Mr Kenny had endorsed his controversial plan to revive the Japanese economy, known as Abenomics, which involves massive government economic stimulus, buying government bonds, printing more yen and restructuring the economy.
"He told me that he endorses Abenomics, which had greatly encouraged me. So my visit to Ireland has given new impetus to our bilateral ties," said Mr Abe, who is the first Japanese prime minister to visit Ireland.
"The world needs a very strong and robust Japanese economy," he added.
Ireland was an important partner for Japan since it had “maintained a tradition of peace and neutral diplomacy” and had worked towards “demilitarisation and non-proliferation and peace building”, Mr Abe said.
He wanted to see greater exchanges of students between Ireland and Japan and promotion of innovation between the two countries, involving private sector exchanges, for example in the area of medical devices.
Trade and investment
Mr Abe said he also wanted to see more trade and investment between Ireland and Japan. Ireland during its EU presidency had committed to an early conclusion of an EU economic partnership agreement with Japan, he added
Mr Kenny said the visit of Mr Abe was a “significant occasion”and he hoped for progress on research, innovation and education between the two countries.
“We look forward to using those opportunities for economic progress growth and jobs either way,” Mr Kenny added.
Ireland also wanted to work on the ageing society sector, an area of importance in Japan given their older demographics and long life expectancy.
“Clusters of our pharma, medical devices, academics and universities here will work with our Japanese colleagues,” he said.
Plans for an EU-Japan trade deal had been started under the Irish presidency, Mr Kenny said.
The Taoiseach said he would visit Japan in the future after receiving an invite from Mr Abe.
Mr Abe was visiting Dublin after attending the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.
On his trip to Europe, he also went to Warsaw where he met the leaders of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.