11 December, New Delhi
Describing the India-Japan strategic relationship as one that “will contribute to peace and prosperity in Asia and the world”, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday called for both nations to step up cooperation in innovation and science and technology.
“Indo-Japanese relations will contribute to peace and prosperity in Asia and the world,” Abe, who arrived here a few hours earlier on an official three-day visit, said while addressing the Japan-India Innovation Seminar.
“India and Japan should sow more seeds of innovation and make them bloom.”
Abe added: “Japan values scientific and technical cooperation with India, a culture that has discovered the ‘zero’ and with such a fine tradition in mathematics.”
Citing examples of Indo-Japanese technical collaboration for environment-friendly development, he said the Metro rail network started in Delhi with Japan’s collaboration, and was rapidly expanding to other centres in India.
“If the ‘Shinkansen’ (Japan’s bullet train) starts flying in India, distances will get smaller,” he said.
Abe’s three-day official visit to India is expected to yield a deal for India’s first bullet train and progress in the talks on a civil nuclear deal.
“Come invest in Japan,” the Japanese premier told the conference participants in English, pointing out that in the last three years of his government, unemployment was the lowest in two decades, while wage hikes last year were the highest in 17 years.
However, with an “aging population” in Japan, if the population decreased, it would be difficult to keep up the growth momentum, he added.