FCCJ Luncheon Meeting 28 August 2007
Guest Speaker: Mr. Ilkka Kanerva, Minister for Foreign Affairs

Theme: Current challenges facing the Finnish society"
RECAP
Minister Kanerva was in Japan for the Athletics World Championships held in Osaka (Aug 25 - Sep 2) as a Council Member of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

In Tokyo, he with his Japanese colleague, Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura, who received his Finnish counterpart already the day after he had taken up his Cabinet post. This was the first ministerial meeting of Foreign Minister Machimura's term of office, which began on 27 August. Alongside his meeting with Foreign Minister Machimura, Foreign Minister Kanerva's programme comprised talks with Shotaro Yachi, Japan's Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Satsuki Eda, President of the House of Councillors of the Japanese Diet, and with other key members of the Japanese Diet.

In his presentation at the luncheon, Minister Kanerva started by pointing out similarities between Finland and Japan, having had a tough period in the 1990's to recover from a strong recession. There are also similarities in the challenges they are facing, i.e. the major one being an aging society with a decreasing workforce and accelerating pension expenditures. Both countries also have a low immigration, which attributes to this problem.

Minister Kanerva noted that Finland for its part managed to pull out of the slump through rapid globalization starting in the mid-1990's, when Finland joined the EU and later on because the first country north of Germany to join the Euro zone. The ICT sector is a prime example of this globalization, and a bit jokingly Finnish history is now divided in the PC an AM eras, Pre-Cellular and After Mobile.

Finland has also achieved top ranking in several international comparisons, competitiveness, least corruption and education. Even though these measurements should not be taken too seriously, they at least show that Finland has done at lest some things right, Minister Kanerva pointed out.

Kanerva also saw a lot of possibilities of cooperation in the Russian market between Finnish and Japanese businesses. Today there are 15 weekly flights between Japan and Finland, taking only about 9 hours, and the mental distance between the two countries is even shorter.

Finally, on the foreign policy front, Minister Kanerva said that Finland supports Japan's permanent membership in the UN Security Council.

The event was which was attended by 62 members and guests, including Embassy of Finland invitees from Japanese ministries, press and business life.

The event was which was attended by 62 members and guests, including Embassy of Finland invitees from Japanese ministries, press and business life.
IMAGES FROM THE MEETING
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FCCJ President Mika Mäkinen opens the meeting.
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The guest speaker starts his presentation.
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The meeting was attended by 62 members and guests and Embassy of Finland invitees.
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Sharing a good laugh at the top table. From left: Anu Saarela, Embassy of Finland, Minister Kanerva, Mika Mäkinen, Chikahito Harada (back to camera), Ministry of Foreign Affains, Hiroshi Tsukamoto, JETRO and Shunji Kono, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co.,Ltd.
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Kimio Hashida, Nokia Japan, Michitaka Nakatomi, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Niilo Pöyhönen, Stora Enso Group, and Takahiko Miyoshi, Nippon Paper Group Inc.
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Starting the Q&A session.
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Minister Kanerva giving a good answer to a difficult question.
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Erik Pöntiskoski making a question.
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Minster Kanerva pondering on response to a question.
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Mika Mäkinen thanks the guest speaker.
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