By Marjan Golpira, Tehran Times
On Saturday, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, at the head of a delegation, traveled to Tehran to hold talks with ranking Iranian officials. Upon arrival Kishida paid a courtesy call to President Hassan Rouhani and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and on Sunday he met Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister.
This is the first trip of senior Japanese officials to Iran after 4 and half years. The last visit was paid to the country by the previous Japanese prime minister in 2009.
On Sunday, a press conference was held at Hotel Azadi in Tehran that was addressed by Japanese Deputy Press Secretary Koichi Mizushima.
As a Tehran Times journalist I was excited to be among other journalists to find out more on what went behind the doors between the two countries' officials.
Mizushima, a very approachable and kind man, on the relations between the two countries said that traditionally Iran and Japan have had a very good and friendly relationship and Japan respects the rich history of Iran.
In 2015 the two countries will celebrate their 140-year-long friendship anniversary, he said.
On the purpose of the Japanese foreign minister's trip to Iran, Mizushima said Japan first would like to strengthen its long-lasting relationship with Iran through dialogue at various levels including high level talks, and through cooperation in environment, energy saving, disaster prevention, climate change, water management, biodiversity, pollution and earthquake disasters.
The Japanese deputy press secretary also added that Tokyo would like to study the cooperation on Lake Oroumieh with Iran since draught has dried up the lake and there are some bad effects of salt in the area.
However, no concrete plan is in hand, he explained.
The second reason for Kishida's visit to Iran, Mizushima said Japan would like to contribute and promote peace in the world proactively as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had mentioned at the UN General Assembly in September.
"For Mr. Kishida, nuclear issue is his life work. Since he is from Hiroshima, he is personally attached to the issue and has made every effort to make the world with no nuclear (weapons)," Mizushima stated.
He said Japan has been paying close attention to the nuclear issue of Iran.
Although Japan is not a member of the negotiation with Iran, it could support and help the process of moving the nuclear matter faster, Mizushima said.
On the Iranian nuclear issue, Kishida has suggested two things: One that Iran should rectify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the other is to rectify the additional protocol with the IAEA. If Iran does those things, it could get the process moving and contribute to optimal agreement.
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