Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said Ireland is an extremely important partner for his country.

Mr Abe was speaking after meeting Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Government Buildings this morning.

The meeting followed Mr Abe's attendance at the G8 summit in Co Fermanagh.

He said he deeply respects the process Ireland has gone through under difficult conditions, working seriously to free the country from the debt crisis.

Mr Kenny said he sees great opportunities for Ireland and Japan working together in the areas of business, innovation and education.

He said: "We will use these links for economic progress and growth in jobs."

Mr Kenny said the three key areas of their talks were challenge, openness and innovation.

He said they also spoke about aging societies, the pharmaceutical sector and universities.

They agreed that the two governments would work together on student and research exchanges, trade and investment relationships, and to promote innovation.