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Berlin and Tokyo to work together on climate, arms

AFP/The Local · 14 Jan 2010, 17:18

Published: 14 Jan 2010 17:18 GMT+01:00

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Germany's top diplomat, who is also deputy chancellor, met Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada at the start of an Asia tour that will also take him to China.

"Disarmament is the central issue of our times," Westerwelle told reporters. "Germany wants it. Japan wants it too. The question now is what we can achieve together on the international stage."

He said Tokyo and Berlin must take a united stance to prevent the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Okada later told a joint press briefing: "If Iran holds nuclear weapons, that would be a very grave issue as we would not be able to stop the trend of nuclear proliferation in the world."

The Japanese foreign minister added that if talks with Iran failed and "if the international community decides to put sanctions on Iran, Japan would not

hesitate in joining the sanctions."

Hatoyama, in his talks with Westerwelle, "stressed the importance of cooperation between Japan and Germany as non-nuclear-armed nations in G8 that share the same value," said a Japanese foreign ministry statement.

On climate change, Hatoyama said the Copenhagen Accord reached last year was not satisfactory, while Westerwelle also spoke of the need for a binding international agreement, the statement said.

On Afghanistan, Okada told the press conference: "We agreed that there are areas where Japan and Germany can cooperate in helping Afghanistan."

Both sides agreed to cooperate in building a hospital in northern Afghanistan and discussed the need to boost police training and payments and to build up key sectors of the country's infrastructure.

Story continues below…

"Schools, roads, water, energy - all this must be developed in order to bring self-sustaining security to Afghanistan," said Westerwelle.

The German foreign minister said both sides also discussed stepping up their long-standing bids for permanent seats on the UN Security Council, saying that "the forum should better reflect the world of the 21st century."

The ministerial meetings were the first since new governments took power in Tokyo and Berlin.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:49 January 14, 2010 by Major B
Superb. Excellente. Good to see this kind of cooperation between Germany and Japan and that both countries understand the imperative of not allowing Iran access to nuclear weapons. Germany has been a stellar international player and is well deserving of a seat on the UN security council
18:47 January 14, 2010 by mixxim
Is Westerwelle pretending he can read that stuff?
19:14 January 14, 2010 by Celeon
The topic of the reform of the UN security council resembles the topic of Turkey's EU membership bid.

There is a lot of talk about that since countless years and if you ask someone at the UN he will say "Oh yes that is underway. We are in constant evaluation and talks about that" but in reality the only thing that really came out of this discussions is a silent unspoken agreement that no one of the current members actually really wants to have any reform at all.

Especially not one that would bring even more veto powers at the table that do not share their global views or interests.

But overall more members in the council would bring only disadvantages and nearly no advantages for any of the current members. Of course they could never openly say that. Imagine the outcry about percieved imperialism.

The USA does not want yet another european country in the council (Germany) and China does not want Japan or India in. For obvious reasons. No one really wants Africa in. Russia's voice in the council has lost much of its weight in the last 20 years and as it struggles to improve its stand again new members especially west-friendly ones are anything else than helpful for achieving that.

None of them will do anything that accelerates a UN securty council reform process just one bit.

They will do all the behind-the-scenes delaying that is possible while pretending they are actually welcoming and supporting a reform.

They may not be able to prevent the reform forever , but they can delay it for decades. And thats exactly what they do at the moment. I doubt that this decade will see the reform of the council either.
20:43 January 15, 2010 by Cincinnatus
Maybe it is just me; however, I'm not sure that the world was helped in any way, the last time Japan and Germany got in bed together.
22:27 January 15, 2010 by wxman
Oh great, having once collaborted on world peace, these two are now going to solve climate change! God help us all.
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