Japan, France agree N. Korea should not be allowed to go nuclear

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his French counterpart Laurent Fabius agreed Tuesday that North Korea should not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons and the international community must keep sending that message.

During a meeting in Tokyo, the top foreign policy chiefs also agreed that the two countries should strengthen the exchange of information to ensure safety for firms operating in Asia and Africa, Kishida told a news conference.

The two countries will consider developing concrete ways to that end, he added.

Many foreigners, including 10 Japanese nationals, died in the hostage incident initiated by Islamist militants in January at a natural gas field in Algeria.

Kishida also said he proposed issuing a joint document aimed at building a "special partner relationship" between Japan and France on the occasion of President Francois Hollande's visit to Japan between June 6 and 8, and Fabius agreed.

At a meeting with Fabius earlier in the day, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his willingness to strengthen bilateral ties when he meets with the French leader, saying he intends to cover "various fields" during the upcoming talks.

He also conveyed his gratitude to Hollande for his assistance during the Algerian hostage crisis.

Hollande is scheduled to visit Japan as a state guest in a bid to enhance bilateral relations, including security and economic cooperation, according to the Japanese government.

Tuesday's so-called foreign ministerial strategic dialogue was the third between Japan and France, following the first meeting in Tokyo in January last year and the second in Paris in October.

On Hollande's visit, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference earlier Tuesday that Abe and his French counterpart are expected to announce policies under which the countries "will cooperate in securing the stability and prosperity of the international community."