The current “strategic” collaboration between Italy and Japan is expected to grow in various fields, including Defence, with an increasing Italian military presence in the Indo-Pacific region. Italian domestic issues, such as Vittorio Sgarbi’s resignation as undersecretary and the debate with Elly Schlein about prisons and the Salis case, are also addressed. Furthermore, the Stellantis dossier is revisited in response to journalists’ inquiries. Giorgia Meloni discusses these issues, which are linked to the G7 leadership transition, in joint declarations with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, and discusses them in a press conference following a bilateral meeting at Palazzo Kantei.
The meeting begins with Meloni speaking to executives from major Japanese corporations with interests in Italy. She emphasises Italy’s keen interest in further developing industrial and technological partnerships with Japan, particularly in innovative sectors such as microelectronics, energy, aerospace, artificial intelligence, biomedicine, and robotics. In short, Italy is eager to strengthen strategic collaboration, explore new opportunities, and work towards strengthening and solidifying its business system to attract investments.
Meloni and Kishida’s joint declarations highlight the growth of trade between Italy and Japan, which increased by 10% last year and exceeded 15 billion euros. The collaboration is experiencing a significant boost in political and strategic terms. Meloni notes that a new foreign/defence consultation mechanism has been established and will be initiated in March. Additionally, significant joint military, maritime, and aeronautical exercises have been organised. She emphasises the strategic importance of the Indo-Pacific region and Japan’s long-standing request for an increased Italian presence in the region, particularly in defence cooperation, which will be realised through the Global Combat Air Programme.
Meloni adds that the collaboration between Italy and Japan has resulted in significant growth and important agreements, including a social security agreement that will prevent Italian and Japanese workers from being doubly taxed. This partnership with Japan has led to tangible results, and this is the fourth bilateral meeting in just over a year. Kishida welcomes Italy’s increased presence in the Indo-Pacific region and looks forward to joint exercises with numerous Italian naval vessels stopping in Japan this year. He sees Meloni’s visit as an important opportunity for an effective transition of the G7 presidency, noting that Japan and Italy share values and principles and have a vital strategic partnership.
Kishida praises Italy’s intention to maintain the results achieved from the summit and the Japanese G7. He promises his full cooperation in ensuring the success of the G7 summit in Puglia. Meloni also addresses internal political issues, discussing the opposition’s role in the reform debate, the Sgarbi case, and the issue of overcrowding and suicides in Italian prisons. She rejects the idea of eliminating crimes as a solution to overcrowding and advocates for increasing prison capacity, hiring more staff, and supporting the prison police as a more viable solution.
Meloni also touches on the Stellantis dossier, expressing interest in any investment that can create jobs. She highlights the importance of a balanced relationship and expresses her readiness to support any initiative that can create jobs in Italy. She also returns to the issue of farmers’ protests, highlighting the government’s efforts to support the agricultural sector. She concludes by stating that much of the farmers’ anger stems from an ideological interpretation of the ecological transition that pits the environment against farmers, which she does not agree with.