SANTIAGO – Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday strengthened bilateral relations by signing several pacts on mining and programs for coping with natural disasters.
Abe met with Bachelet in Santiago on a tour through Latin America and the Caribbean that will conclude with a stop in Brazil.
The two leaders reviewed the economic and trade relations between Chile and Japan and agreed to increase ties in areas like scientific, cultural and public policy cooperation.
“Beyond the fact that our economic, trade and multilateral relations are auspicious, I want to emphasize that Japan’s presence in Chile is also moving in other directions,” said Bachelet at a joint press conference with Abe.
The Chilean leader emphasized that Japan is a world power in scientific and technological development, areas in which it can contribute to Chile’s development.
In that regard, one of the agreements forged within the framework of Abe’s visit is an alliance between Chilean state copper giant Codelco and Japan’s Mitsui to improve mining efficiency and perform research on new, higher-value-added applications for the red metal.
Bachelet noted that Chile and Japan share “common and unenviable characteristics,” such as destructive earthquakes and tsunamis that have affected the two nations in recent years.
Chile suffered a magnitude-8.8 quake followed by a tsunami in February 2010 that killed 526 people and made 30,000 homeless, while a magnitude-9 temblor and ensuing massive tsunami killed 18,000 people in Japan in March 2011.
Chile can learn from “the good practices and successful experiences” that Japan has had, Bachelet said.
The governments signed a memorandum of cooperation to reduce the risks of natural disasters that will include a training program for about 2,000 professionals from Latin America and the Caribbean over the space of five years.
Abe emphasized the value of the accords reached with Bachelet and said that Chile is “a very important partner.”