Italy's foreign minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi will on Tuesday start a two-day visit to Japan to cement relations between the two countries and to give new impetus to bilateral economic and cultural ties, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Moavero's visit "aims to re-launch Italy and Japan's already solid, special and extensive relations and comes amid intense interest in the Asian continent," the statement said.
Moavero's trip to Japan is the first in twelve years by an Italian foreign minister, the statement underlined.
Moavero will hold talks with Japan's premier Shinzo Abe and with its foreign minister Taro Kono. He will also meet Japanese lawmakers and Italy-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Association president Amari Akira, as well as representatives of Italian companies and the Italian community in Japan.
During the talks, Moavero will look at opportunities deepening economic cooperation between Italy and Japan "in the bilateral context and in third countries with specific attention to joint projects in Asia and Africa," said the statement.
The meetings will review various aspects of bilateral relations, as well as the main regional and multilateral issues ahead of the G20 summit in the Japanese city of Osaka on 28-29 June and the Italian G20 presidency in 2021, according to the statement.
"Particular attention will be paid to cultural relations and to the numerous Italian initiatives planned in Japan, one of the countries that is most appreciative of our artistic heritage," the statement said.
Moavero visit the Italian Cultural Institute in Tokyo, where he will have a special meeting with Italian teachers while his talks will cover an upcoming exhibition of the work of iconic 17th-century painter Caravaggio in three major Japanese cities (Sapporo, Osaka and Nagoya) as well as Italian language and food weeks, the statement noted.
The talks will look at initiatives to improve links between Europe and East Asia though investments in infrastructure "based on the principles shared among European Union members and the system of alliances to which Italy belongs," the statement added.