Japan, Italy to launch security cooperation talks

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, left, and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni hold a press conference after a meeting at the Chigi Palace government office in Rome on Tuesday.

ROME (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his Italian counterpart, Giorgia Meloni, agreed on Tuesday to launch talks among their foreign affairs and defense officials to promote their countries’ security cooperation.

“We agreed to enhance our countries’ cooperation further, in order to maintain and reinforce free and open international order based on the rule of law,” Kishida said at a joint press conference following the meeting with Meloni.

Last month, Japan, Italy and Britain agreed to jointly develop and manufacture a fighter jet that will replace the Air Self-Defense Force’s F-2 fighter.

“I hope [the deal] will facilitate industrial cooperation among the countries and become a foundation for security cooperation,” the Japanese leader said.

“I welcome Italy’s increasing interest in the Indo-Pacific region,” Kishida added.

Kishida and Meloni had in-person talks for the first time since the Italian prime minister took office last October.

The two leaders affirmed close cooperation toward a Group of Seven summit to be held in the city of Hiroshima in May, after Kishida briefed Meloni of his views on sanctions against Russia and support for Ukraine.

Meloni expressed support for Kishida’s plans for the G7 summit. She told the joint press conference that she and Kishida agreed not to cease support for Ukraine.

They also agreed to upgrade the Japan-Italy relationship to a strategic partnership.