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New Zealand PM Ardern and Japan PM Abe Exchange Rugby Jerseys in Tokyo

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met in Tokyo, Japan, Thursday, September 19, to discuss further cooperation between the two nations. It’s the first visit by Jacinda Ardern to Japan as the country’s prime minister. Her visit coincides with the Rugby World Cup opening game between New Zealand’s national team and South Africa in Yokohama on Friday. After the talks Thursday morning, the two leaders said they discussed expanding ties over trade, security, environmental effort and tourism. Ardern and Abe exchanged rugby balls and named jerseys as they wished each other luck ahead of the World Cup opening.

The leaders of Japan and New Zealand agreed Thursday to work toward expanding the existing 11-member Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, as they seek further economic and regional integration in the Indo-Pacific.

After meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said they had agreed to deepen defense ties through joint exercises. He added that the two nations share universal values and back the free and open, rules-based international order.

“I wish to elevate our strategic cooperative relationship to new heights,” Abe said at a joint press appearance with Ardern.

The Boston Global Forum honored Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as a World Leader for Peace and Cybersecurity at Harvard University Faculty Club on Global Cybersecurity Day, December 12, 2015.