Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is coming to Lithuania to discuss bilateral issues and the North Korea situation with President Dalia Grybauskaitė and Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis on Saturday and to pay tribute to Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust during World War Two, in Kaunas on Sunday.
Shinzo Abe and Dalia Grybauskaitė
© LRPK / Robertas Dačkus

The Japanese prime minister is to arrive in Lithuania on Saturday afternoon after visiting Estonia and Latvia. He will then continue on to Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania.

On the eve of the trip, Abe called for maximum pressure on North Korea over its nuclear program.

President Dalia Grybauskaitė's foreign policy adviser says that bilateral relations between Lithuania and Japan in the field of security have intensified in recent years.

"Understanding what an insecure neighborhood means is an element connecting the countries. We can see that cooperation in security matters has become more intense. In 2016, we saw Japanese warships in Klaipeda, (and) we cooperated with Japan in Afghanistan," Nerijus Aleksiejūnas told BNS.

"We have a similar understanding about North Korea. We share the same attitude toward the threats coming from North Korea and we say that the international community needs to be actively involved in adopting and implementing sanctions," he added.

The prime minister of Japan, the world's third-biggest economy, is accompanied by a business delegation on his trip.

Aleksiejunas noted Lithuania's laser exports to Japan and strengthening ties between the two countries in life sciences and financial technologies.

The diplomat says that Hitachi's failed plans to invest in a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania did not undermine Japan's confidence in the country and pose no obstacle to developing ties in other areas.

"We are through this stage of relationship. We are now looking ahead and speaking with the Japanese about the future, as well as about what we can do together in energy, from renewable energy sources to liquefied natural gas terminals," the presidential adviser said.

On Sunday, Abe is scheduled to honor the memory of fallen defenders of Lithuania's freedom and independence at Vilnius' Antakalnis Cemetery before going to Kaunas to visit Sugihara House, Japan's former consulate where Vice-Consul Sugihara in 1940 issued several thousand visas to Jewish refugees, thus helping them to escape the Holocaust.

Abe is the first Japanese prime minister to visit Lithuania. Japanese Emperor Akihito paid a visit to Lithuania in 2007.

BNS
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