The Slovenia Times

Advanced technologies in focus as foreign minister visits Japan

Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon (right) greeted by her Japanese counterpart Yoko Kamikawa. Photo: The Slovenian Foreign Ministry

Cooperation in new technologies, in particular green hydrogen, ranked prominently as Slovenian Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon visited Japan on 15 and 16 April accompanied by a business delegation, before heading on to China.

Fajon, the first Slovenian foreign minister to visit Japan in 16 years, met her counterpart Yoko Kamikawa, State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Kazuchika Iwata and representatives of Japanese businesses.

"Japan is one of the most important investors in Slovenia, and we want to attract even more investors from this high-tech country," Fajon said, urging Japanese companies to invest further in Slovenia to upgrade cooperation in science and innovation.

"Hydrogen, the automotive industry, science and robotics - these are all areas where Slovenian companies have a strong interest in cooperating with Japanese partners," she said.

Meeting with representatives of Keidanren, Japan's largest business organisation, and with the CEOs of the Hitachi corporation and the SMBC bank, Fajon was joined by Igor Papič, the Slovenian minister of higher education, science and innovation, and Uroš Kerin, the coordinator of the Slovenian hydrogen consortium.

The consortium was recently formed by 18 Slovenian companies, organisations and municipalities to create an ecosystem for hydrogen from low-carbon sources to attract a Japanese partner to vie for funding from Japan's advanced technology agency NEDO.

Slovenia and Japan successfully implemented a three-year smart grid and smart city project in the past. Based on this positive experience, Slovenia hopes they can join forces again to establish a low-carbon hydrogen ecosystem.

"We are working together in the UN Security Council on climate security and on finding solutions to climate change, and this project would bring a joint solution that pursues the goals of the green transition in practice," Fajon said.

Papič, who had taken part in the three-year smart grid project as an expert, labelled what would be a low-carbon hydrogen ecosystem "one of the largest international demonstration projects".

"With the previous development project in the field of smart grids, in which I participated as an expert, we were extremely successful and even won the award for the best project in this field on a global scale," said Papič, a professor of electrical engineering.

Papič will be having several more meetings in Japan in the coming days, including with Shigenori Mitsushima, head of the Japanese association of hydrogen energy systems.

Fajon's discussions with her counterpart focused on bilateral relations and the countries' cooperation in the UN Security Council where both serve as non-permanent members.

"Slovenia and Japan are like-minded countries, which is also reflected in our close cooperation within the UN Security Council, where we are committed to an effective, rules-based international order," Fajon said, pointing to conflict prevention, the protection of civilians, nuclear disarmament, and a greater role of women in peace and security efforts.

The ministers exchanged views on topical issues and conflicts, called for a "free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific" and agreed that the EU-Japan strategic partnership is becoming increasingly relevant also in the context of economic and climate security.

Trade relations will also rank prominently in China, the next stop of Fajon's mini Asian tour, where she will be accompanied by a delegation representing over 50 Slovenian companies.


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