Harper, Japanese PM Pledge To Work Together

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | January 29, 2013 6:27 PM EST

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had a telephonic conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Monday evening and the two leaders pledged to work together to reach a favorable free-trade agreement between the two democratic countries.

While pledging to work together, the two prime ministers cherished the existing good relationship that the two countries are enjoying at the moment, according to a statement released by Harper's government Monday night.

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke tonight with Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan.  The call was an opportunity for the Prime Minister to extend his personal congratulations to Mr. Abe on his recent election and appointment as Prime Minister," said Harper's government in the statement on its website.

Harper congratulated Abe for his recent re-election and extended an invitation to him to visit Canada.

 During the conversation, Harper offered condolences to the Japanese prime minister and the families those Japanese nationals that were killed in the terrorist attack at the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria early this month where at least six Japanese nationals were reportedly killed at the terrorist attack.

While underlining the strong partnership that exists between the two democratic countries, the two prime ministers discussed the potential for energy cooperation as well as matters of international security.

According to the statement, the two leaders also expressed their desire to work together in international fora like the G-8.

 "Prime Minister Harper noted that Canada and Japan already enjoy close economic relations and further enhancing the bilateral trade and economic relationship is vital to the future prosperity of both nations."

 Japan banned beef imports in 2003 from several countries, including Canada, after a fatal brain disease that was discovered in a few animals, leading to concern that eating their meat could pose a health risk for humans.

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