Official meeting between President Berset and Japanese Prime Minister Abe

Bern, 12.04.2018 - On Thursday, 12 April, President Alain Berset held an official meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In addition to bilateral relations the talks covered a wide range of international issues. The president and head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) will also be attending the Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety in Tokyo.

During the official talks between President Berset and Prime Minister Abe, both sides acknowledged the excellent bilateral relations between Switzerland and Japan, and discussed ways of further intensifying relations. A declaration of intent signed in February between the Swiss National Science Foundation and its Japanese sister organisation is paving the way for even closer cooperation in science and research. Given the intensive economic relations between the two countries, President Berset reiterated Switzerland's wish to update the successful bilateral free trade agreement that has been in place since 2009.

The talks also addressed global and international issues. Both sides stressed their support for a strong multilateral system embodied by
organisations such as the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Mr Berset stressed the importance of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM), which Switzerland has been part of for the last five years.

Furthermore, he congratulated Japan on the upcoming G20 presidency and expressed Switzerland's willingness to play a part in the G20 finance track.

Both sides outlined their commitment to improving ties between Europe and Asia, also with regard to China's Belt and Road Initiative. In that regard, Prime Minister Abe set out Japan's (Free and Open) Indo-Pacific strategy. The delegations also discussed the situation on the Korean peninsula.

A further topic of discussion was the state of preparations for the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Switzerland will once again showcase the country by setting up a ‘House of Switzerland', as it did at the recent winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

A further meeting planned in the course of the presidential visit will be with health, labour and welfare minister Katsunobu Kato. On Saturday the president will attend the 3rd Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety and hold bilateral talks with various health ministers on the fringes of the gathering. The programme in Tokyo includes a number of events which underline the close economic and cultural ties between Switzerland and Japan.

Address for enquiries

Peter Lauener, FDHA Information Service
+41 (0)79 650 12 34,


General Secretariat FDHA

State Secretariat for Economic Affairs