Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono visited Iceland on 18-19 October, becoming the first foreign minister of Japan to visit Iceland since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1956.
During his visit, Minister Kono delivered the keynote speech at the annual Arctic Circle forum held in Reykjavik 19-21 October. In his keynote, the minister addressed Japan´s focus on Arctic related issues; highlighting the need for international cooperation in addressing the sustainable development of the Arctic, the need for increased scientific and research collaboration and ensuring the rule of law.
Following his keynote, Minister Kono participated in a discussion panel together with Iceland´s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdóttir and former President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson.
On 19 October, Minister Kono met with Icelandic Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson but the two had met earlier this year in Tokyo. The Ministers discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues; including economic cooperation, cooperation in the field of air services, Arctic issues and more.
On 1 September 2018 the governments of Iceland and Japan introduced a Working Holiday program, which provides opportunities for young people between the age of 18 and 26 to experience the culture and general way of life in each other countries. Japan is the first country with which Icelandic authorities reach such an agreement.
On 31 October 2018, a newly negotiated double taxation agreement between Iceland and Japan entered into force.