Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and French president-elect Francois Hollande have agreed to work together on the EU debt crisis and North Korea's nuclear programme, an official said Monday.
Noda and Hollande discussed joint approaches to the European Union's economic troubles and the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programmes during a 10-minute phone call after Hollande defeated Nicolas Sarkozy in Sunday's presidential election, a foreign ministry official told local media.
Noda congratulated Hollande and told him France is a "strategic partner" of Japan, the official said.
The two will meet at a G8 summit in the United States on May 18 and 19. Noda also invited Hollande to visit Japan soon, the official said.
The two leaders also indicated they want to work together to launch negotiations on an EU-Japan free-trade agreement, media reports said.
Earlier Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told a news conference that Japan will "carefully monitor" how Europe reacts to Hollande's election as the continent seeks to navigate a series of debt crises.
Fujimura congratulated Hollande, calling France an "important partner" for the world's third largest economy and said Japan wanted to further strengthen ties.
In a carefully worded but brief statement, Japan's top government spokesman said the health of the European economy "greatly affects" the fate of the ailing Asian economic giant.
"We believe the European debt crisis is in the process of emerging out of the critical condition it was in last year. But it does not allow for optimism," Fujimura said.
"The trajectory of the European economy greatly affects our economy," he said, adding that Japan considered discussions between France and European powerhouse Germany "important".
German Chancellor Angela Merkel worked closely with defeated French incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy to pull Europe out of its deep economic malaise.
But while Markel has pushed for austerity, Hollande has advocated growth measures.