Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Monday Japan will further strengthen relations with Brazil under the presidency of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who became the nation's leader at the start of this year.

During a meeting with his Brazilian counterpart Mauro Vieira in Brasilia, Hayashi criticized Sunday's riots committed by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro in the capital city, while expressing his support for the "democratically elected" new leader, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi (R) shakes hands with his Brazilian counterpart Mauro Vieira ahead of their talks in Brasilia on Jan. 9, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Hayashi was quoted by the ministry as saying that the two countries' economic relations have "big potential," especially in the fields of food, energy and mineral resources, of which Brazil is a major producer.

Hayashi said he expects that Brazil's government under Lula, who was sworn in as the president on Jan. 1, will improve aspects of the country's business environment, in areas such as tax systems, so that Japanese firms can invest further in the South American nation, the ministry said.

The talks came a day after demonstrators backing Bolsonaro, the predecessor of Lula, stormed legislative buildings, the presidential office and the Supreme Court in Brasilia.

Hayashi said that threatening democracy through violence should not be tolerated, according to the ministry.

Vieira, who took office earlier this month following the inauguration of Lula, said Brazil will further promote friendly relations with Japan even after the change of power in his nation, the ministry said.

The two top diplomats agreed to cooperate in maintaining and reinforcing the rules-based, free and open international order, according to the ministry, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine that escalated in February continues.

As both Japan and Brazil take nonpermanent seats at the U.N. Security Council in 2023, Hayashi and Vieira also affirmed the two governments' willingness to work together, including as members of the "Group of Four" that also involves Germany and India.

The four countries have long aspired to become permanent members of the 15-member council through its reform. Currently, the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia, all of which are nuclear powers, occupy the five permanent seats.

Hayashi extended an invitation to Lula and Vieira to Japan, while the Brazilian foreign minister invited Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to Brazil, according to the ministry.

Hayashi is on his 12-day trip through Sunday to the Americas and has also visited Mexico and Ecuador so far.