Historical background to the document of "Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the meeting with the Prime minister of Japan Ryutaro Hashimoto" (Official residence of the Prime minister, February 26, 1998)

Azerbaijan-Japan relationship develops regularly in different spheres, mainly in economic cooperation. Mutual contacts began to grow more rapidly, according to the "Eurasian diplomacy" announced by Ryutaro Hashimoto, a prime minister of Japan between 1996-1998.

The first official visit of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to Japan in February 1998, contributed much for the development of the cooperation at the highest level. Heydar Aliyev met with emperor of Japan, his Majesty Akihito and held talks with the Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto. A banquet reception was given by the emperor in his honor during the visit. (http://www.mofa.go.jp/)

In the meeting with Hashimoto, the Japanese Prime Minister declared that Japan supported the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan in the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno Karabakh conflict. At the same time, he said it was correct to resolve the conflict on the principles put in forward at the OSCE Lisbon summit. Both sides talked on issues of economic cooperation between the two countries and affirmed there were great prospects in this sphere.

Heydar Aliyev met with representatives of business circles of Japan during the visit. As a conclusion of the visit, eight agreements were signed between Azerbaijan and Japan on the spheres of policy, economy and technology.

Practical steps in bilateral relations continued after the visit. The Japanese Foreign Minister visited Azerbaijan in April 1999. A Japan embassy was opened in Azerbaijan in January 2001. Japan oil companies ITOCHU and INPEX cooperate in the framework of oil strategy of Azerbaijan.

Visit of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to Japan in March 2006, in a sense, is an evidence of a high development of mutual relations. The visit was evaluated as a natural step towards the requirements of a high oil-consuming Japanese economy and technical needs of the infrastructure of Azerbaijan. In the political sphere, Azerbaijan supports the idea of a permanent membership of Japan in the UN Security Council, in return of his position in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. (http://www.jamestown.org/)

In his conversation with Ryutaru Hashimoto, on February 26, 1998, Heydar Aliyev confirmed that Azerbaijan wanted profit from a rich Japanese experience and supported Japan in the case of its permanent membership in the UN Security Council.

Historical background was compiled on September 13, 2006.