TOKYO – The president of El Salvador and Japan’s Prime Minister pledged on Friday to deepen cooperation and boost economic, political and cultural ties during a meeting held in Tokyo.
Both Nayib Bukele and Shinzo Abe celebrated the profitable bilateral relations their countries enjoy and said that they would be building on the existing investments and technical advice that Tokyo has already offered the Central American state.
Abe’s government has advised El Salvador on infrastructure development projects and other areas in the past.
Abe said that El Salvador “is an important partner of Japan, and together we have forged an 80-year friendship.
The Japanese PM also celebrated the shared values both nations share after meeting Bukele as part of an official visit to the Asian country.
“We have agreed to join forces to deepen our relationship of friendship and cooperation,” Abe said.
The prime minister also welcomed the attendance of Salvadoran vice president Felix Ulloa at the recent enthronement ceremonies of Japanese emperor Naruhito.
Abe said that Japan would continue to play a central role in cooperation with El Salvador, specifically collaborating in the development of “logistics, infrastructures, industrial promotion and the recruitment of human resources” in the eastern region of the country.
The Japanese politician said his country was keen to extend ties across economic, political and cultural sectors.
Bukele, on the other hand, defined Japan as “a great friend, traditional partner, ally and cooperator who has helped El Salvador for many decades in multiple projects.”
The president cited specific projects that have enjoyed Japanese participation such as the country’s international airport or the port of La Union, or the most recent infrastructure project in the eastern part of El Salvador which includes large-scale road works backed by Japanese funds.
On 28 June the government of El Salvador and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed an agreement to promote a development plan in a coastal area of the Central American country.
“Our great desire is to further strengthen our relationship with Japan,” said Bukele, who added that El Salvador can be a good partner for Tokyo despite being a small country.
Bukele offered to “promote the participation of Japan in the Caribbean” through the current Salvadoran presidency of the Central American Integration System (SICA).
The leaders discussed other geopolitical issues such as the Japanese flagship policy Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy to improve connectivity between Asia and Africa, the defense of maritime order and the most recent missile tests conducted by North Korea, which both leaders labeled a “serious provocation.”
Bukele’s official visit to Japan will end on Sunday and is the first since 2006 when President Elias Antonio Saca visited.
In 2015, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Princess Mako, niece of Naruhito, visited El Salvador.