Tokyo, 15 February 2010 – Prime Minister Andrus Ansip met today with Japan’s head of government, Yukio Hatoyama. Both stressed the very good terms the two countries were on as well as the intention to intensify economic collaboration, particularly in the IT and communications technology sectors. The meeting focused mainly on opportunities for collaboration related to public sector e-services.
Prime Minister Ansip elaborated on both e-voting, e-Tax Board and other more common Internet-based services in Estonia – amongst other things, the popularity of online banking.
His Japanese counterpart noted that there was great interest in applications for e-government as well as for the Estonian ID card.
Speaking about Estonia-Japan relations, both parties noted that at a political level, including in international organisations, collaboration was very good. Amongst other things, Estonia-Japan joint activity in rebuilding the healthcare system in Afghanistan was addressed.
At the meeting, the Prime Minister introduced his Japanese colleague to Estonia’s goals to join OECD this year and to adopt the euro from the beginning of next year. Japan’s Prime Minister acknowledged the consistency of Estonia’s financial policy, particularly the efforts of the Government to cut public sector expenditure, the lowest government sector debt burden in the European Union, and the reserves accumulated during the years of economic growth. “I hope that joining the euro zone will lend further impetus to Estonia’s development,” Yukio Hatoyama said.
At the meeting, Yukio Hatoyama also introduced Prime Minister Ansip to Hideaki Hoshi, soon to assume the post of the Ambassador of Japan to Estonia. Heretofore, Japan has been represented in Tallinn at the chargé d'affaires, with the Ambassador assigned to Estonia residing in Helsinki. Next year will see the 20th anniversary of the re-establishment of Estonia-Japan diplomatic ties.
Both Prime Ministers also acknowledged the important role of Baruto – Kaido Höövelson – in bringing Estonia and Japan closer to together. “Baruto has a big role in promoting Estonia-Japan relations,” Prime Minister Ansip said. “Thanks to him, Estonians know a great deal more about Japan than one might think. Baruto has done a really big job in popularising sumo wrestling and, more broadly, all of Japanese culture in Estonia,” he observed.
Today, the Prime Minister also met with Japan’s Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, Kazuhiro Haraguchi. Their discussion also focused mainly on subjects related to Internet-based public services, pointing out that it was in this area that collaboration could be productive. Also, cyber security was discussed in greater detail. The Prime Minister observed: “Estonia has valuable experience in the area of cyber defence. A substantial proportion of knowledge in this area has converged in Estonia, as NATO’s cyber defence centre, too, is located in Tallinn”.
Prime Ministers of Estonia and Japan hope for productive collaboration, above all, in the IT sector