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Gentiloni: “Economic challenges unite us” (Corriere della Sera)

Dear Editor, today is the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship and Commerce between Italy and Japan, which was signed on 25 August 1866 and marked the start of bilateral diplomatic relations.  

Despite the geographical distance, the ties between our populations date back, at the very least, to the mid-1500s, long before the Treaty. Following the signing in 1866, the relations between Italy and Japan developed with even greater strength, building on growing sentiments of mutual friendship, esteem and respect between our people.

One hundred and fifty years ago Italy and Japan, ancient Nations but recently united States, were called on to tackle the challenges of modernization and industrialization under similar circumstances. Starting from 1945, Italy and Japan shared the common experience of reconstruction and development, grounded on solid democratic foundations and on the values of the rule of law, human rights and free market rules; an experience that contributed to further strengthening our bilateral relations.

Now too Italy and Japan face important economic, social and demographic challenges and are involved in a reform process aimed at promoting growth. The similarities between our respective economic systems is the basis for sound commercial relations and ever-larger investment flows.

After the heinous attack in Dhaka, which ended the life of nine Italian and seven Japanese citizens on the 1st of July, Italy and Japan were once again united, this time in grief. In that difficult moment, sentiments of closeness and solidarity were added on to the determination of giving a firm response to the scourge of terrorism.

On the global scene, both Countries make an important contribution to the international community’s effort to guarantee peace, stability and prosperity and share interests and responsibilities in consolidating the relations between Europe and Asia.

The upcoming handover of the G7 chairmanship from Japan to Italy in 2017 will offer the opportunity to further consolidate our common commitments.

The exchange of high-level visits and the numerous commemorative events currently underway both in Italy and Japan put a seal on the 150th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.  

On this day, allow me to recall the reasons that spur us to celebrate the journey made up to now. But above all, looking at the future, I would like to express the will to promote an ever-stronger commitment to strengthen our two peoples’ mutual friendship and acquaintance and to foster new opportunities in which to cooperate and be successful together.