Leaders of Japan, Brazil call for peaceful settlement of international disputes

International disputes must be resolved by law not force, the heads of the two countries say as they sign pacts on trade and cooperation

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 August, 2014, 6:14am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 August, 2014, 7:33pm

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff have called for the resolution of international disputes based on international law and not through force, in an apparent reference to China's increasing assertiveness.

Abe also touched on Japan's relations with China, which is a partner of Brazil in the BRICS club also grouping Russia, India and South Africa.

"While we haven't been able to hold summit meetings, we are tied to each other inescapably in the area of economy," the Japanese leader said, acknowledging rocky relations between Tokyo and Beijing stemming from a territorial dispute and historical issues.

In a meeting with Rousseff in Brasilia on Friday, Abe endorsed loans that will help the South American nation develop offshore oil production and expand its soybean and corn crops.

Japan will lend US$500 million for the construction of eight ship hulls for offshore oil platforms and US$200 million for the production of soybeans and corn. The two leaders also signed mutual cooperation treaties in the infrastructure, pharmaceutical, energy, mining and educational areas. They also discussed ways to increase bilateral trade, which last year amounted to US$15 billion.

Abe said Brazil "presents great opportunities for investment". In addition to its potential for offshore oil production and transport infrastructure, he noted the South American country's domestic market of about 200 million people.

"All this has reignited the interest of Japanese companies," he said.

Rousseff said she and Abe discussed "themes central to the international stage".

Abe told Brazilian business leaders that Japan has closed a 15-year deflation cycle since his stimulus policies began to kick in and there was great potential to expand trade and investment with Latin America's biggest economy.

"With Japan growing again, we can grow with other nations," he said.

Japan is Brazil's sixth-largest trading partner, with two-way trade of US$15.7 billion in 2012. Brazilian agribusiness is the second-largest supplier of corn and soybeans to Japan.

Japan's enthusiasm for Abe's economic stimulus policies has waned this year after the country's growth sagged and investors grew impatient for more drastic structural reforms.

Rousseff thanked Japan for opening its market to Brazilian pork last year, but she asked for the lifting of a ban on Brazilian beef that Japan and a few other countries still have because of a mad-cow-disease scare.

It wasn't all business for Abe. The Japanese leader met Brazilian soccer stars who have played in Japan and thanked them for helping develop the sport in his country.

Among them were Zico and Dunga, Brazil's newly appointed head coach, who played in Japan for three years and was Japan's coach for another three.

Zico gave Abe a soccer ball signed by players. Abe kicked a pass to Zico and headed the ball with joy.

Brazil is the last stop of Abe's five-nation tour of Latin American and the Caribbean. He also visited Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, and Chile.

Kyodo, Associated Press, Reuters