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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012
Bolster energy, security ties: top French envoy
By MAMI MARUKO
Japan and France can have a solid role to play in today's globalized world if the two countries share a common goal and pursue further cooperation, French Ambassador Christian Masset said recently in Tokyo.
"The two nations can take action together, because we share the same values as a democratic society, and we have a shared interests as advanced economies," Masset said during a Dec. 10 lecture at Aoyama Gakuin University.
In his lecture, titled "France and Japan in the Globalization," the 13th in a series by Tokyo-based ambassadors cosponsored by The Japan Times, Masset noted that France supports Japan getting permanent member status on the United Nations Security Council "so that the U.N.'s governance will be strengthened."
Masset, who was in charge of globalization and development issues at the French Foreign Ministry before being tapped as ambassador to Japan in January, said the two countries can cooperate on global issues, including those in the Middle East and Africa.
He noted that diplomatic ties date back to 1858, when France was one of the first Western powers to establish official relations with Japan during the closing years of the Edo Period.
Today, cooperation between the two nations covers a number of areas, from finance and security to human rights and environmental issues.
Underlining these areas, Masset said both nations "have an important role to play" in the area of energy, which he said is in a "period of transition."
As both are resource-scarce nations, he said Japan and France should look to cooperate in specific projects to enhance energy security and expand the energy mix, including renewables and nuclear power. Nuclear power accounts for roughly 75 percent of France's energy supply.
Strengthening people-to-people ties is another point of shared interest, the ambassador said.
He called France and Japan "two rare countries in the world that regard culture as an important asset," and that both are "charmed by each other's cultures."
"Japanese sense of beauty — both traditional and contemporary — have given an influence on French (art and culture)," he said, noting that there has been an increase in exchanges in the fields of art, literature and architecture in recent years. Today, Japanese is second only to English in terms of books translated into French, he said.