On Friday, August 25, Deputy Speaker of the Saeima Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica welcomed Hiroyuki Nagahama, Vice-President of the Japanese House of Councillors, accompanied by a delegation. During the meeting, it was underlined that Latvia and Japan are like-minded partners with common interests, including the preservation of the rules-based international order, the strengthening of democracy, the development of science and technology, as well as the improvement of the welfare of people.
Deputy Speaker of the Saeima emphasised that Latvia and Japan, although geographically remote, face similar threats and challenges - whether it is a large and aggressive neighbour or a smaller country exhibiting unacceptable behaviour and acting against democracy and human rights. There are also challenges related to the demographic situation and the need to increase the defence budget.
When discussing Russia’s hostilities, the parties agreed on the continuation of support to Ukraine. “Russia must be held accountable for its crimes. It cannot get anything from this war. This is important not only for Ukraine or Europe, but for global security,” stressed the Deputy Speaker of the Saeima, expressing satisfaction that Japan also supports the establishment of an international tribunal.
The fight against disinformation, including in the context of the global food crisis, was also discussed. Kalniņa-Lukaševica urged Latvia and Japan to cooperate in this field, explaining Russia’s role in causing the crisis to international partners.
Regarding economic cooperation between Latvia and Japan, Deputy Speaker of the Saeima Jānis Grasbergs called for an increase in the export of Latvian food products to Japan. Currently, main export goods include timber and wood products, mineral fuels, as well as optical equipment and hardware.
Grasbergs also highlighted the similar challenges both countries are facing due to the low birth-rates, and the parties discussed support measures to promote fertility, as well as exchanged experience in strengthening the health care system and challenges caused by the shortage of medical personnel.
When discussing energy cooperation as a contribution to security, renewable energy resources and technologies for their production and storage were highlighted. The parties also underlined opportunities for cooperation between scientists and innovative companies, including in the military and cybersecurity field.
Raimonds Bergmanis, Chair of the Defence, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee of the Saeima, Inga Bērziņa, Chair of the Social and Employment Matters Committee, and Janis Vucāns, Chair of the Mandates, Ethics and Submissions Committee, also took part in the conversation with Hiroyuki Nagahama and his delegation. Likewise, the Japanese delegation met with the group for promoting cooperation with the Parliament of Japan.
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Saeima Press Service