Japan eyes foreign ministerial talks with Britain, France at U.N. assembly

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida plans to meet with British Foreign Secretary William Hague and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius later this month on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Japanese government sources said Tuesday.

Kishida is planning to meet the two separately, both around Sept. 24, and affirm close coordination on the framework proposed by the United States and Russia to rid Syria of its chemical weapons, the sources said.

When meeting Hague, Kishida is expected to offer to cooperate with Britain on humanitarian assistance for refugees from the Syrian conflict, and express Japan's interest in together providing assistance to Jordan and other countries bordering Syria.

Hague is likely to congratulate Kishida on the selection of Tokyo as the host city to the 2020 Summer Olympics, and offer the event management experience his country gained through hosting the 2012 Games in London.

In a separate meeting with Fabius, Kishida is expected to cover plans to accelerate the scheduling of the first "two-plus-two" meeting between both countries' foreign and defense ministers under an arrangement established by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Francois Hollande when the leaders met in June.

Kishida also wants to facilitate working-level talks between Japan and France on matters such as collaborative development of defense equipment and export controls, the sources said.

Negotiations on the early conclusion of a free trade agreement between Japan and the European Union are likely to be on the table at both meetings.