German, Japanese ministers urge end to nuclear weapons Eds
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and his Japanese counterpart Katsuya Okada expressed their shared commitment to the abolition of nuclear weapons during talks in Berlin on Tuesday, reported DPA
"We are raising our voices for a world without nuclear weapons as we are both convinced that we can only create a peaceful and stable future if we approach this goal step by step," Westerwelle said.
The German foreign minister accepted Japan's invitation to become a founder member in a new joint initiative with Australia in campaigning for global nuclear disarmament.
In a joint newspaper article, Westerwelle and Okada welcomed the commitments pledged in May by more than 180 countries at a nuclear non-proliferation conference in New York, but described the agreement as "extremely fragile."
"Without an intensive concerted effort, states will not honour it," Okada and Westerwelle wrote in an article for US daily Wall Street Journal, published at the weekend.
Tuesday's talks in Berlin also focused on Japan's desire to establish a free trade agreement with the European Union.
Okada stressed that the issue affected more than Japan's economic relations with the EU, but also carried political ramifications.
"Japan hopes regular summit meetings can take place with the EU - that is our goal," Okada said. "To achieve this, of course we also need to make an effort."
Westerwelle and Okada said the main obstacles were non-tariff barriers to trade. These can include security standards or norms protecting natural resources.
Okada said that Japan supported Germany's ambition to become a non-permanent member on the UN Security Council. He said Japan's priority was not a seat on the Security Council, but rather that the UN "functions well."
Okada's visit to Berlin includes meetings with Economics Minister Rainer Bruederle and President Christian Wulff