The foreign ministers of Japan and Germany pledged Monday to work together to support the rules-based international order threatened by Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, while keeping economic sanctions on Moscow.
During their talks in Tokyo, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock also agreed that the two countries should further strengthen defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, where China is intensifying its maritime assertiveness.
"We need to be united with like-minded nations to deal with Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which undermines the foundation of the international order," Hayashi said at a joint press conference with Baerbock after the meeting.
The talks came just days after they attended a foreign ministerial meeting of the Group of 20 major economies on the Indonesian island of Bali, which Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also attended but walked out in the middle.
Baerbock said "19 nations shared" the view at the G-20 gathering that they need to cooperate with each other and comply with common rules to tackle global challenges, but "one country did not go along" with them, referring to Russia.
Tokyo and Berlin will support exports of Ukrainian grain, according to Hayashi, as Ukraine, a major wheat producer, has faced a Russian blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which has prevented the crops from being shipped to areas such as the Middle East and Africa.
Hayashi also said Japan and Germany will enhance collaboration on countering "unilateral attempts to change the status quo" and "economic coercion" in the Indo-Pacific, apparently referring to China, which is using its military and economic clout to expand its sphere of influence.
The ministers also discussed cooperation as Japan will host next year's Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima, a western city that suffered the devastation of an atomic bombing in World War II.
At a G-7 summit hosted by Germany late last month, leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States plus the European Union pledged to keep imposing economic sanctions on Russia for its aggression against Ukraine.
The top German diplomat also conveyed her condolences over the death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was killed by a lone gunman while on the campaign trail in western Japan two days before Sunday's House of Councillors election.
Baerbock arrived in Japan on Sunday and visited Nagasaki, the other Japanese city attacked with an atomic bomb in August 1945, where she met with the head of a survivors group.