Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland Timo Soini visited Japan from February 20-22. His short but fruitful stay included among others meetings with his counterpart Minister Taro Kono and the members of the Japan-Finland Friendship League of Parliamentarians, visit to the Meiji Shrine and a press conference at the Japan National Press Club.
February 21 marked Soini's 1000th day in office as the Foreign Minister. "I've been in politics in many different levels, but being a Foreign Minister gives me a broad perspective on things," said Minister Soini at the gathering where all the Embassy staff attended to greet him. "The Minister's job is good and rewarding, but a demanding one."
In the afternoon Minister Soini gave a press conference at the Japan National Press Club to about 40 journalists, where he highlighted the importance of the rules-based world order. The themes of the following Q&A session included populism movement in Europe, role of social democracy in the Nordic countries, and perhaps not surprisingly, the issue about the location of the Moomin Valley, because the question was raised in the recent nationwide university exam. Minister Soini replied with his hand over his chest "Moomins are existing in Finland… but in our hearts. And hopefully in the Japanese hearts as well."
The day ended with a meeting with Foreign Minister Taro Kono at MOFA's Iikura Guest House. A short press occasion was held in the beginning, where the two foreign ministers noted that the 100th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Finland is coming up next year, and that the two countries would like to further develop the good bilateral relationship. The two also agreed that a strong and firm stance should be taken to global issues such as North Korea. Minister Kono ended his speech by saying "I heard that the Moomin issue has been settled with… I look forward to discussing various topics with you." Minister Soini replied by ending his speech "yes, now that the issue has been solved, we can relax and get ready for the meeting." With these words the two Ministers left for the working dinner, which included topical bilateral and international issues in line with the Strategic Partnership announced by the two heads of state in 2016.