Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: MTI

Szijjarto: Hungary benefiting significantly from cooperation with Japan

Hungary is benefiting significantly from its cooperation with Japan, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said after talks with his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, on Tuesday.

Speaking to public media after the meeting in Japan, Szijjarto, who is the first foreign minister to visit the island country this year, said Hungarian-Japanese cooperation was based on mutual respect and friendship. “This is also true of economic cooperation,” he said. “Japanese businesses have trust in Hungary and the Hungarian people.”

Szijjarto said this trust was reflected in the fact that a total of 23 Japanese companies invested in their bases in Hungary last year with a view to avoiding layoffs. The combined investments of 25 billion forints (EUR 68m) were supported by 9 billion forints in government grants and saved a total of 15,600 jobs, he said.

Suzuki’s plant in Esztergom, in northern Hungary, will be one of the bases to undergo major developments, Szijjarto said, adding that other auto industry players as well as the food sector were also set to see tens of billions of forints’ worth of investments by Japanese businesses over the coming months.

Meanwhile, the minister also highlighted Hungary and Japan’s cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, noting that Hungary has received millions of doses of medicines from Japan.

On another subject, Szijjarto said Hungary will take part in the 2025 World Expo in Osaka, adding that the Hungarian government has decided to open a consulate in the western Japanese city.

“We are really pushing for closer cooperation between the European Union and Japan, and for them to sign an investment protection agreement,” Szijjarto said. He added that it was “even more important” for the East Asia Free Trade Area, of which Japan is a member, to enter into direct cooperation with the EU as quickly as possible.

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