Today I am very happy to report that despite the obvious geographical distance of some 10,000km, in terms of cooperation Japan and Europe are very close indeed.
I had the great pleasure to hold a meeting with Minister Tatsuo Kawabata of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan
, together with some of his colleagues, including Vice Minister Yamakawa.
The Minister - responsible not only for ICT matters but also for Japanese home affairs - updated me on the progress in Japan since the terrible earthquake and tsunami of last year
, and on the nuclear crisis and the effect this is having on Japan's energy situation. I was struck yet again by the resilience and fortitude of the Japanese people: my thoughts are with those who have had to cope with such hardship. And I realised that, although Japan and Europe are facing crises of different natures at the moment, we are nevertheless seeing so many of the same challenges.