On her official visit to Japan, Paula Risikko, Speaker of Parliament, emphasised the cooperation between the European Union and Japan in efforts to defend free trade.
"Finland and Japan are at the forefront when free trade and rule-based international cooperation must be defended globally. Both of these are important for the economies of the EU countries and Japan", Speaker Risikko says.
Early during the week, the Speaker's delegation, which in addition to Speaker Risikko included Ville Skinnari (Social Democratic Party) and Päivi Räsänen (Christian Democratic Party), both members of the Parliament, met the Speakers of both chambers of the Japanese Parliament and other political leaders, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Katsunoby Kato, the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare.
As the former Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Speaker Risikko already began negotiations for a social security agreement between Finland and Japan in 2012. The negotiations are now nearing a conclusion.
"Among others, the agreement will make it easier for employees to move from one country to another. It promotes investments and scientific and technological cooperation, which is important to Finland and Japan", Speaker Risikko says.
According to Speaker Risikko, it is possible to have closer trade relations in health technology, digital economy and arctic expertise, for example. Cooperation between the countries is also facilitated by good, fast flight connections.
"I pointed out in the meeting that flight connections could be increased further. I was delighted to hear from Prime Minister Abe that almost everybody in Japan has a very positive picture about Finland. We received the impression that Finnish nature and our education system are the things admired here", Speaker Risikko says.
Paula Risikko, Speaker of Parliament, and her delegation will visit Japan in 19–22 March, invited by Chuichi Date, Speaker of the Upper House of the Japanese Parliament.