Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Emmanuel Macron say they will work closely together to send strong messages on major issues at the summit of the Group of 20 economies.
Abe met Macron at the prime minister's office in Tokyo for about 90 minutes on Wednesday, two days before the G20 summit opens in Osaka. The French president is visiting Japan for the first time since taking office.
The two leaders agreed to send strong messages about the main topics on the G20 summit agenda such as free trade, digital economy, climate change and women's empowerment.
They reaffirmed their cooperation in addressing matters related to North Korea. These include the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, and tougher measures to prevent the country from evading UN sanctions including illegal ship-to-ship transfers.
Abe renewed his resolve to the issue of Japanese nationals abducted to North Korea, and Macron expressed his support.
Their meeting comes amid mounting tensions over Iran. Abe said it is very important for peace and stability of the international community, including Japan and France, to ensure safe navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, which links Europe and Asia.
Abe and Macron shared their concern about the situation surrounding Iran and confirmed their commitment to work closely together to ease the tensions.
The two also agreed to step up cooperation on maritime security. They agreed that their countries will hold a comprehensive maritime dialogue, probably in the second half of this year.
At a joint news conference after their talks, Abe said he and the French president had in-depth discussions on bilateral collaboration for the success of the G20 summit. He added that Japan, as the chair country of the G20, wants to contribute toward global peace and prosperity in cooperation with France, which will chair the G7 summit meeting in August.
The two leaders also announced a five-year roadmap for increased cooperation between Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the French military, as well as for sharing know-how to promote renewable energy.
Under the plan, the two countries will also work together on space, cyberspace and environmental issues.