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PM Lee congratulates new Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

Mr Lee also gave his best wishes to Mr Yoshihide Suga, who stepped down as Japan's prime minister in September. 

PM Lee congratulates new Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

Japan's Prime Minister and ruling Liberal Democratic Party leader Fumio Kishida speaks during a news conference at the party headquarters in Tokyo, Nov 1, 2021. (Photo: Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday (Oct 4) congratulated Mr Fumio Kishida on becoming Japan's new prime minister, saying his victory in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presidential election is a "demonstration of the trust and confidence" of the party in his leadership. 

In his letter, Mr Lee said he looked forward to working with Mr Kishida to continue strengthening relations between Singapore and Japan, and welcomed him to visit Singapore again soon, after their previous meeting in September 2019. 

Mr Lee said the two countries share "longstanding and excellent relations", adding that Singapore and Japan celebrate 55 years of diplomatic relations this year. 

"The resilience of our ties is evident from our continued cooperation and mutual support through the COVID-19 pandemic, including on connectivity and post-pandemic recovery.

"This augurs well for our two countries," he said. 

Mr Lee added that there is much more Singapore and Japan can do together in areas of "mutual interest", ranging from digitalisation to tackling common challenges such as climate change and ageing societies. 

"Singapore and Japan also work closely together regionally and internationally to uphold the multilateral trading system and support the rules-based order," said Mr Lee. 

He said Singapore appreciates Japan's leadership as Chair of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Commission and hopes to have its support when Singapore takes over the Commission Chair next year. 

"We also look forward to the early entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership," he added. 

Mr Lee said Japan is an important dialogue partner for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and that the two cooperate closely in a wide range of fields such as the digital economy, public health and smart cities. 

"We have a very substantive agenda together, both bilaterally and multilaterally. I look forward to working with you to continue strengthening our relations and advancing our mutual interests," said Mr Lee. 


Mr Lee also wrote a letter to outgoing Japanese premier Yoshihide Suga, thanking him for his strong support for Singapore-Japan relations. 

"Over your long career in public service, you have worked tirelessly for the betterment of the lives of the Japanese people," said Mr Lee. 

Mr Suga stepped down as Japan's prime minister in September, a year after he took over Mr Shinzo Abe, who resigned in September 2020 citing ill health. 

"As Prime Minister, you led the country through an unprecedented and challenging time amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and oversaw Japan’s successful hosting of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games," said Mr Lee. 

He added that Mr Suga's leadership has also been "crucial" in Japan's efforts towards digitalisation and sustainable development. 

"These efforts will benefit not only Japan but the international community as well," said Mr Lee. 

He also thanked Mr Suga for his "strong support" for Singapore-Japan relations. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore and Japan kept up "high-level" exchanges and cooperation, including maintaining supply chain connectivity. 

Mr Lee said the two countries also strengthened their engagement in many areas, including third-country infrastructure development and the digital economy. 

He also expressed his appreciation to Mr Suga for Japan's leadership as Chair of CPTPP, as well as the country's committment to promoting vaccine multilateralism. 

"As we celebrate our multifaceted relations, we also look towards the many new areas of mutual interest on which we can collaborate in the future," he said. 

Mr Lee said he looked foward to working with Mr Kishida to build on Mr Suga's good work in further strengthening the ties between the two countries. 

"I look forward to working with your successor to build on your good work in further strengthening our ties," he added. 

Source: CNA/lk(rw)


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