Official visit of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to Japan (February 24-28, 1998)

Japan is one of the countries which has close relations and broad partnership with Azerbaijan. Japan`s interest in the Caspian region and Azerbaijan is connected with the economic factors. Although Japan is not involved in complex strategic processes in the region, it does not want to stay outside of the regional, transnational energy and economic projects. It is also of the countries which provides Azerbaijan with interest-free loans and concessional aid most. Japan is also one of the initiators of the restoration of the Great Silk Road.

The official visit of the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to Japan at the invitation of Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto also played an important role in further development of the relations between the two countries.

One of the major events of this visit to the Land of the Rising Sun, the meeting with the Emperor Akihito took place at the Imperial Palace on February 25. The two leaders talked about the current level of bilateral relations and udnerlined their great prospects.

On February 26, President Heydar Aliyev met Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto. At the meeting held in the residence of the Prime Minister, Heydar Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan attaches great importance to deepening and strengthening the cooperation in all areas with Japan, which is one of the most developed countries of the world. In his turn the Prime Minister said: “Japan supports independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Japan also support the solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict on the principles adopted at the Lisbon Summit. Japan supports Azerbaijan`s position and condemns the occupation of the territories of one country by another country.”

The meeting was followed by the ceremony of signature of the official documents. In his statement at the ceremony, Heydar Aliyev noted: “I believe that by signing these documents, especially the agreement on friendship and partnership, we open a new stage in our cooperation. I declare that we shall fulfill all our obligations and be a reliable partner.”

On February 26, the President of Azerbaijan also met chairman of the House of Representatives Ito Soichiro. Both sides noted that this official visit would open a new stage in the steadily developing Japanese-Azerbaijani relations. On the same day Heydar Aliyev met the Japanese Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi and chairman of the House of Councillors Saito Juro.

President Heydar Aliyev had  totally  48 interesting and useful meetings with the members of the Japanese government, chairs of both chambers of the parliament, representatives of business circles.

Signed by the Azerbaijani President and the Japanese Prime Minister, two documents – joint statements on friendship and partnership between Azerbaijan and Japan and on cooperation in the field of trade and economy are of great importance. These statements reflect the basic principles and directions of the further development of cooperation in all the spheres between the two countries. The agreement on mutual consultations between the foreign ministries of Japan and Azerbaijan, the agreement on 20.7 billion yen loan for the construction of “Shimal” (“North”) power station, the notes on granting a 400 million yen disinterested loan, the agreement with Eximbank of Japan on the loan for the construction of an ethylene production plant at Azerkimya State Company under the guarantee of the Government of Azerbaijan, the contract on 15% share to Mitsui Corporation in Kurdashi oil field project were also important documents.

The visit of the President of Azerbaijan to Japan was observed by the mefis of Japan and the world. During the visit President Heydar Aliyev gave interviews to the newspapers Asahi Shimbun, Nikkei Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun, to the Tokyo-based correspondent of the Reuters agency, to NHK and Asahi TV channels.

The very successful visit introduced Azerbaijan to Japan both politically and economically.