Tue. Mar 2nd, 2021

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has written a valedictory letter to outgoing Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and a congratulatory letter to incoming Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide. The text of the letters is appended.


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16 September 2020



Valedictory Letter from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Outgoing Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo



16 September 2020


Dear Prime Minister Abe,


        I was sorry to learn last month that you will be retiring from office. 


        You leave office with an impressive track record, after achieving a historic milestone by becoming Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister. Your signature reforms, for example Abenomics, Womenomics and Society 5.0, have earned recognition and acclaim. You also presided over Japan’s momentous transition from the Heisei era to the Reiwa era. 


        It has been my privilege to have worked with you for almost a decade, in your two terms in office. Singapore-Japan relations steadily strengthened during your premiership. We completed a review of the Japan-Singapore New-Age Economic Partnership Agreement, which expanded our economic ties. The Japan Creative Centre in Singapore, which was mooted during your first term, continues to flourish. We have had multiple exchanges of visits, including your Official Visits to Singapore in 2013 and 2014 and my Official Visit to Japan in 2016, when we celebrated 50 years of diplomatic relations. The recent announcement on the resumption of business travel between our countries would not have been possible without your leadership. I also appreciate the special effort you made to attend the State Funeral of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew and the Lying in State of former President Mr S R Nathan.


        On the international stage, your active personal diplomacy, as well as initiatives such as the “Proactive Contribution to Peace” policy, have enhanced Japan’s international standing and engagement of the region. I recall your visit to all ten ASEAN Member States in 2013, at the start of your second term. Under your leadership, Japan made substantial contributions to initiatives such as the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, the ASEAN Smart Cities Network, and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. As a signatory to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, Singapore is grateful for the decisive leadership you exercised to bring this agreement to a successful conclusion, after the US withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.


        You have been a good friend, both to Singapore and to me personally. I remember your gracious hospitality on my last trip to Osaka for the G20 Summit, particularly the wonderful dinner and kyogen performance at the Osaka Geihinkan, against the beautiful backdrop of the Osaka Castle. I have enjoyed working with you to deepen the ties between our countries. You have strengthened our robust relationship, which I look forward to building on with your successor.


        Ho Ching and I wish you a full recovery. Our best wishes to Akie too!


Yours sincerely,




His Excellency Abe Shinzo

Prime Minister




Congratulatory Letter from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Incoming Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide



16 September 2020


Dear Prime Minister Suga,


        Congratulations on your appointment as Prime Minister of Japan. It is an affirmation of your many years of distinguished public service as Chief Cabinet Secretary, and a testament to confidence in your ability to steer Japan through these difficult times.


        Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore and Japan have demonstrated the resilience of our excellent relationship. We have worked closely to maintain supply chain connectivity, restore travel, and support the recovery of our economies. Next year, we mark the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. There is much more we can do together, including to tackle common challenges such as our ageing populations. Another area where we can collaborate is on infrastructure in third countries, which dovetails with Japan’s Partnership for Quality Infrastructure. 


        Japan continues to be a valued partner of ASEAN. We share a wide-ranging and substantive partnership across many areas, ranging from economic cooperation and disaster management to connectivity and capacity-building. I understand that one of your priorities will be digitalising your government. The ASEAN Smart Cities Network can be one platform for us to collaborate in this area. Singapore also looks forward to the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases – a flagship of Japan-ASEAN cooperation. 


        As we adapt to a post-COVID-19 world, Singapore and Japan should continue to support the rules-based international order. Following the successful conclusion of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, our countries are working towards signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership this November. Amidst the Fourth Industrial Revolution, there is also potential for us to deepen cooperation in new areas such as the digital economy. This will build upon our strong partnership in the World Trade Organisation, where we are co-convenors together with Australia of the Joint Statement Initiative on e-commerce.


        I welcome you to visit Singapore soon, and look forward to working closely with you to strengthen our bilateral relations. 


Yours sincerely,




His Excellency Suga Yoshihide 

Prime Minister


By Bureau