In the end, the flight will have lasted longer than the stay. On Sunday afternoon, after less than 24 hours in Tokyo, the Chancellor will be back in Berlin. He then spent more than 26 hours in the air. But perhaps this is also part of the clear signal that Olaf Scholz wanted to send: Japan is so important to us that we do not shy away from this exertion.

Eckart Lohse

Head of the parliamentary editorial office in Berlin.

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Patrick Welter

Japan economics and politics correspondent based in Tokyo.

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When the chancellor sat with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and a small delegation early Saturday afternoon, he called the intergovernmental consultations, to which he had travelled to Tokyo with part of the cabinet, a "sure sign of good cooperation" between the two countries. Later, at a press conference with Kishida, Scholz described Japan as a "core value partner" for Germany.

The fact that the visit took place was ultimately more important than the concrete content. Although a 25-point final declaration was adopted, it essentially contained declarations of intent for cooperation. The focus was on economic security, an issue that has become even more important for the two resource-poor and export-dependent countries with Russia's war against Ukraine.

It's about economic security

In many discussions, economic security was in the foreground. The range of topics was wide, from securing access to rare minerals and raw materials to securing supply chains and protecting companies and institutions from cyberattacks. "In a world in transition, it is about making economic policy safer," said Economics Minister Robert Habeck before his dialogue with his counterpart Yasutoshi Nishimura.

Japan offers a lot of illustrative material. The country pursues a broad-based strategy in terms of economic security, ranging from macroeconomic issues such as energy security to specific instructions for companies to protect data and information systems. However, it did not seem as if concrete agreements were reached at this point in addition to the in-depth and future exchange of information.

Habeck had hoped for progress in terms of raw material security, with the idea that Germany and Japan would cooperate to reduce dependence on Chinese supplies. Before the conversation with Nishimura, he spoke of the joint exploration and development of new sources, deposits and mines and about the fact that "maybe we are really making concrete progress".

Scholz later announced that the German Federal Agency for Geosciences and Natural Resources and its Japanese counterpart, Jogmec, which is assigned to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, should cooperate more closely. With regard to joint exploration, however, Scholz spoke only of a "common direction and perspective".

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock announced before the meeting with her Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi that a direct encrypted telephone line would be installed between her offices. "This is the deepest technical signal of friendship and mutual trust," Baerbock said.