TOKYO – Relations between Greece and Japan are based on a pillar of shared values and principles, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Wednesday in a statement after meeting Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in Tokyo.
“Today, we discussed our bilateral ties. The pillar of our ties is that we share common principles and common values. Starting with respect for International Law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. I have to say, UNCLOS for Greece is a tenet of our foreign policy.
“We have commenced an experts’ Dialogue between our Ministries on Law of the Sea issues. We look forward to continuing it in the near future.
“Respect for the Law of the Sea is also reflected in QUAD decisions, of which Japan, along with Australia, New Zealand and the US, is a member,” Dendias said.
Noting that Japan is a signatory of the 1923 Lausanne Treaty, the Peace Treaty between the Entente Powers and Turkey, Dendias pointed out that this was “the Treaty that established the borders between the countries of the region. And it is exactly those borders that revisionist forces aspire to re-draw.”
Greece and Japan, he added, “seek to promote stability and security in our respective regions, building relations by promoting the peaceful resolution of disputes, as well as by rejecting the threat or use of force.
“We both uphold the principle of the freedom of navigation in the high seas and we addressed cooperation in international fora, most notably the UN,” Dendias said.
The minister noted that his visit marked “Greece’s renewed efforts to further strengthen ties with Japan” and pointed out that the Greek Prime Minister, Prime Minister Mitsotakis, has extended an invitation to Prime Minister Kishida to visit Athens.
He referred to the history of the two countries diplomatic relations and noted that the centenary since the establishment of the Japanese Embassy in Athens coincided with that of the Asia Minor Catastrophe, during which the captain and the crew of the Japanese ship “Tokei Maru” “saved in September 1922 more than 800 Greeks and Armenians fleeing the burning city of Smyrna.”
“We are grateful to Japan for this humanitarian gesture, which we will never forget,” he added.
Dendias said that he had reiterated Greece’s unilateral support for Japan’s candidature as a non-permanent member at the UN Security Council in 2023-24, expressing gratitude for Japan’s support of Greece’s candidature for the succeeding period, 2025-26.
“We work closely in the International Maritime Organization (ΙΜΟ), we have discussed the EU-Japan relations on trade matters, and, also, I think we both believe in the full implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement. We also discussed, and we are going to discuss during lunch, how we are going to enhance our bilateral relations, especially in areas like tourism, energy and trade,” he said.
They also discussed the situation in Ukraine, following the Russian invasion, Dendias added, while he had opportunity to thank Japan for taking a clear and principled stance on this issue.
“Greece, from the beginning, condemned the use of force against the territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine, or any other country in the world. I reiterated that revisionism, wherever it appears, is a thing of the past and must be condemned. I also briefed my colleague on my recent visit to Odessa delivering humanitarian aid,” he said.
Dendias said that challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean, in the Western Balkans, but also in the Indo-Pacific will be discussed with his counterpart over lunch, while repeating Athens’ strong condemnation of the launch of a ballistic missile by North Korea.
“This is a gross violation of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and should not be accepted by the international community,” he said.