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Japan, Estonia to deepen cooperation in IT as Olympics near

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Estonian counterpart Juri Ratas attend a joint press conference after their talks in Tokyo, on Feb. 10, 2020. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan and Estonia agreed Monday to deepen cooperation in the field of information and communication technology and boost exchanges between their peoples heading into the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer.

    During their meeting in Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Estonian counterpart Juri Ratas also stressed the need to resolve the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea decades ago as Estonia is a nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council between 2020 and 2021.

    "Estonia is the front-runner in ICT and an important partner that shares universal values such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law," Abe said at a joint press appearance with Ratas, adding that he hopes to further enhance bilateral relations.

    Ratas said officials from 18 Estonian companies, mostly in the ICT sector, have accompanied him in search of business opportunities.

    "We are pleased to work with the government of Japan as well as private companies, and of course municipalities in Japan," Ratas said, citing such areas as e-government and smart cities.

    Estonia is known to be an advanced country in IT. Since suffering massive cyberattacks in 2007, Estonia has also been boosting cybersecurity and it now hosts a cyber defense center for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

    Cooperation in cybersecurity was also likely on the summit agenda ahead of the Tokyo Games, given that big events are easy to be targeted by cyberattacks.

    In the summit, the Japanese ad Estonian leaders also discussed the situation in North Korea and cooperation at the United Nations, according to Ratas, who described Pyongyang's abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s as "unacceptable."

    "We hope to be able to reform the (U.N.) Security Council with the view of making Japan its permanent member," Ratas said.

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