Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam visited Tokyo from 11 – 14 October to attend the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen made his introductory visit to Japan from 9 – 11 October.
Japanese House of Representatives Speaker Takahiro Yokomichi visited Singapore from 23 – 24 September at the invitation of Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer to strengthen inter-parliamentary ties.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on the sidelines of the APEC Summit in Vladivostok on 8 September.
The 18th Raffles Programme, which was held from 5 – 10 August, saw the visit of several senior Japanese officials to Singapore to exchange ideas and develop a deeper understanding of Singapore’s policies. Senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry also called on Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli.
Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui visited Singapore from 8 – 12 July, where he was hosted to dinner by Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan.
Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara visited Singapore from 29 June – 2 July to attend the 11th Plenary Meeting of the Asian Network of Major Cities 21 and the Joint Opening Plenary of the World Cities Summit / Singapore International Water Week / CleanEnviro Summit Singapore.
Minister for Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam made his introductory visit to Japan from 4 – 6 June. Minister Shanmugam and Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba witnessed the signing between the Singapore Red Cross Society (SRC), the Soma City Municipal Government and the Singapore Embassy in Japan of a Memorandum of Cooperation for the construction of the Isobe Community Centre located in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture. This project is one of the reconstruction projects funded by donations collected by the SRC following the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew visited Tokyo from 24 – 27 May to attend the Nikkei Conference on "The Future of Asia".
Former Senior Minister Professor S Jayakumar was conferred the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by His Majesty Emperor Akihito on 8 May. The award was conferred on Professor Jayakumar in recognition of his significant contributions towards strengthening Singapore-Japan relations.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli visited Japan from 13 – 18 March. Minister of State Masagos witnessed a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a new multi-purpose hall in Rikuzentakata City, which was funded by donations collected by the Singapore Red Cross Society. Rikuzentakata City was one of the worst-hit areas in the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
Gifu Governor Hajime Furuta called on Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan on 21 February.
Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Kyoichi Tsushima visited Singapore for the 3rd Aviation Leadership Summit from 12 – 13 February. Parliamentary Vice-Minister Tsushima called on Minister of State for Finance and Transport Mrs Josephine Teo.
Singapore hosted the 16th Singapore-Kagoshima Conference on 17 January. Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Community Development, Youth and Sports Sam Tan led the Singapore delegation, while the Japanese delegation was led by Governor of Kagoshima Prefecture Yuichiro Ito.
Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba visited Singapore from 11 – 12 October as part of his regional tour of Southeast Asia. Minister Gemba called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. He was also hosted to lunch by Minister for Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam.
Minister of State for Finance and Transport Mrs Josephine Teo visited Tokyo from 30 October – 3 November and met Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Kyoichi Tsushima, as well as with aviation and maritime companies.
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano made a working visit to Singapore from 22 – 23 September and called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang and Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Dr Yaacob Ibrahim.
The 17th Raffles Programme, which was held in Singapore from 7 – 12 August, saw the visit of several senior Japanese officials to Singapore to exchange ideas and develop a deeper understanding of Singapore’s policies. Senior officials from Gaimusho, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications called on Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong visited Tokyo in June to receive the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun from His Majesty Emperor Akihito. The award was conferred on ESM in recognition of his significant contributions towards strengthening Singapore-Japan relations.
Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat visited Japan to attend the 14th OECD-Japan Seminar from 28 – 29 June.
Minister of Defence Toshimi Kitazawa visited Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue which ran from 3 – 5 June.
Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew visited Tokyo to attend the Nikkei Conference from 26 – 27 May.
State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Yutaka Banno led the Japanese delegation to attend the 8th Japan-Singapore Symposium hosted in Singapore on 25 April. During his visit, he met Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Zainul Abidin Rasheed, who headed the Singapore delegation.
A delegation led by Nippon Keidanren Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura visited Singapore and called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong separately on 17 February. Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang also hosted lunch for Chairman Hiromasa and his delegation on 17 February.
Chairman and CEO of Japan Economic Foundation Noburo Hatakeyama called on Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on 14 February.
Vice-Minister of Defence Kimito Nakae visited Singapore from 20 – 21 January. During his visit, Vice-Minister Nakae called on Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean and Permanent Secretary (Defence) Chiang Chie Foo.
Singapore-Japan relations have deepened and broadened over the past few years. The signing of the Japan-Singapore Economic Agreement for a New Age Partnership by the two Prime Ministers in January 2002 marked a milestone in our bilateral relations. Their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko made a successful State Visit to Singapore in June 2006. Reciprocating this visit, President and Mrs S R Nathan made Singapore’s first-ever State Visit to Japan in May 2009. During Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's visit to Singapore in November 2009, he and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched the Japan Creative Centre.
Japan was Singapore's seventh largest trade partner in 2011, with bilateral trade accounting for about 6% of our total trade. Total trade between Singapore and Japan amounted to S$56.1 billion in 2011, an increase of 0.9% year-on-year. Singapore and Japan share many interests on regional issues, such as the security situation in the Asia-Pacific, maintaining the freedom and safety of navigation in the international sea lanes of Southeast Asia, and promoting regional dialogue mechanisms of the Asia-Pacific region. Both countries are also working together under the Japan-Singapore Partnership Programme for the 21st Century to provide technical assistance to third countries. Bilateral cooperation has also been expanded to include cooperation to combat diseases, such as SARS and avian influenza, and joint anti-piracy exercises between the coast guards of the two countries.
More recently, Singapore provided assistance to Japan following the 11th March earthquake and tsunami in 2011. On top of sending a team of search specialists and tracker dogs, Singapore had sent emergency supplies such as mineral water, blankets, collapsible water container and dried food to the affected areas in Japan. The Singapore Red Cross Society has earmarked contributions to four reconstruction projects in the affected prefectures: (i) Taro Support Centre, Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture ($1.16 million); (ii) Multi-purpose Community Hall, Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture ($11 million); (iii) Toyama Nursery School, Shichigahama, Miyagi Prefecture ($5.5 million); and (iv) Isobe Community Centre, Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture ($2.1 million). Apart from the Taro Support Centre, an elderly care facility which opened in November 2011, design and construction works on the other projects are ongoing.