South Africa’s bilateral relationship with Japan has expanded across a wide spectrum and is strengthened with regular interaction between the two countries under the auspices of the bilateral Partnership Forum.
The forum was upgraded to the level of ministers of foreign affairs at the end of 2006, when Minister Dlamini Zuma paid an official visit to Japan.
The Partnership Forum provides a framework within which both countries are able to continuously work towards strengthening, developing and broadening relations to the mutual benefit of both countries.
Discussions are held over a wide spectrum of areas.
The exchanges in the fields of S&T constitute a priority bilateral sector and are aimed at extending such initiatives to the benefit of the region at large.
The Government of Japan has provided substantial assistance to the (AsgiSA) and the (Jipsa).
Japan established the Japanese Jipsa Working Group in Tokyo, which mobilises Japanese stakeholders from across the spectrum (public, private and civil-society institutions) to assist with HR capacity-building.
In March 2008, Minister Dlamini Zuma attended the Ministerial Preparatory Conference.
The conference laid a foundation for the Africa-Japan Heads of State Summit held in May 2008 in Japan.
South Africa participated in the TICAD IV Ministerial Preparatory Conference within the context of fostering
African development through the strategic partnership with Japan.
Launched by Japan in 1993 as an initiative for Africa’s development, TICAD is aimed at promoting high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners.
TICAD also seeks to mobilise support for African-owned development initiatives.
In this regard, key issues addressed at the ministerial conference included the acceleration of sustainable economic growth, achieving the MDGs, consolidating peace and democratisation, and addressing environmental issues.
The conference was organised around the theme “Towards a Vibrant Africa:
A Continent of Hope and Opportunity”.
TICAD’s guiding principles of African ownership and international partnerships are entrenched in Nepad values and principles.
Both TICAD and place identical obligations on African countries and their development partners. Of the eight Nepad Programme of Action areas, Japan has identified the following four as immediate priority areas:
- HR development.
- market access (trade and investment promotion, as well as private-sector development)