CE meets Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan (with photos)

     The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, met the visiting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr Taro Kono, at Government House this afternoon (March 25).

     Mrs Lam welcomed Mr Kono's visit to Hong Kong, who is the first Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan to visit Hong Kong since Hong Kong's return to the motherland. Noting that Hong Kong is Asia's world city, she said that since she assumed office last July, she has been striving to strengthen the ties between Hong Kong and other economies and hopes that exchanges with Japan in various areas will be enhanced, including trade, business, tourism, culture, the creative industries, Gerontech and people-to-people bonds. In particular on tourism, arrivals from Hong Kong in Japan amounted to 2.2 million last year and an increase of more than ten per cent in visits by Japanese to Hong Kong were recorded last year. She expressed the hope that both sides would continue to work together to advance the development in tourism.

     Mrs Lam said that Hong Kong is committed to promoting regional trade and economic co-operation and signed a Free Trade Agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations last November.  She said the city is also interested in participating in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership which is under negotiation. Given Hong Kong, an international centre for finance, trade and business, has all along been supportive of free trade, she said she believed that Japan will support Hong Kong's participation in the Partnership to benefit all participating parties.

     Noting that she has been monitoring the situation on food imports from Japan to Hong Kong, including the arrangement of the import ban on some of the food from five prefectures in Japan, she emphasised that it is incumbent upon the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to safeguard public health and hence effective measures must be in place to ensure food safety and to maintain public confidence. Under this premise, the Food and Health Bureau will maintain communication with the Japanese authorities to review the latest situation and adopt appropriate measures in relation to the import ban.

     Mrs Lam said Hong Kong is actively taking part in the national Belt and Road Initiative and is encouraging state-owned enterprises to make use of Hong Kong's professional services in finance, insurance, construction and legal services to explore the markets along the Belt and Road. She encouraged Japanese enterprises to leverage on the professional services provided by Hong Kong to seize together the tremendous business opportunities brought by the Belt and Road Initiative.

     Mrs Lam also reiterated to Mr Kono that Hong Kong has all along been strictly implementing the sanction measures decided by the United Nations Security Council on North Korea, and that Hong Kong will stay highly vigilant about activities and suspected cases that may violate the sanctions. The law enforcement agencies will also follow up on suspected violations seriously.

Ends/Sunday, March 25, 2018
Issued at HKT 18:50