On February 29, DPJ Supreme Adviser, former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama received a courtesy call from former Thai Prime Minister Abisit Vejjajiva, and exchanged opinions on a variety of issues. The meeting was also attended by Administration Committee Chair Hideo Hiraoka, and Vice Directors-General of the International Department Gaku Kato and Motohiro Oono.
At the start of the meeting, Hatoyama welcomed Abisit and recalled their exchanges when they were both still prime ministers of their respective countries, saying: “I have fond memories of when I met with you in my capacity as Prime Minister, and I very much appreciate your strong leadership on that occasion.” He also reiterated his gratitude for the warm support that had been received from the people of Thailand at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake, as well as expressing his condolences for the devastating floods that had swept Thailand last year. Hatoyama added, “Japan and Thailand have both experienced terrible disasters, but I believe that this has deepened the bonds between the citizens of both our nations.”
Abisit stated, “I would like to express my gratitude for the assistance we received from Japan following the large-scale flooding that affected our nation, in particular the sustained support for river and flood management. We would like to make every effort as a nation to ensure that the same kind of disaster will never happen again. Japan and Thailand have created our bilateral relationship during the course of many years of history. The powers of endurance shown by the people of Japan after March 11 were much admired in Thailand. The natural disasters facing both our nations cannot be resolved overnight, but I would like to make every effort toward recovery and reconstruction.”
Both sides engaged in a lively exchange regarding the politics and economics of South-East Asia, and the domestic politics of both nations, and agreed on the importance of deepening bilateral exchanges, particularly those between politicians. The meeting ended in a convivial mood, with exchanges of gifts and promises to engage in continuing dialogue.