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Last Update : Monday, Dec 14, 2015

JapanGov Weekly

[Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan] [Wednesday, Dec 2, 2015]

Japan-Luxembourg Summit Meeting

On December 1, commencing at 2:00 p.m. (local time) for approximately 50 minutes, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, held a summit meeting with H.E. Mr. Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, during his visit to that country. The overview is as follows.

1. Opening remarks

Prime Minister Bettel welcomed Prime Minister Abe, and Prime Minister Abe replied that bilateral economic relations made significant progress as a result of Prime Minister Bettel’s visit to Japan in July, and that he was happy to become the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit Luxembourg in a bilateral context less than six months following that. In addition, Prime Minister Abe expressed his happiness that the close and longstanding relationship between the Imperial Family of Japan and the Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg formed the foundation for the friendly relations between the two countries, and explained that he was honored to meet T.R.H Crown Prince Guillaume and Crown Princess Stéphanie of Luxembourg when they visited Japan in October last year. In response, Prime Minister Bettel also highly appreciated the first visit to Luxembourg by a Prime Minister in a bilateral context, and the two leaders shared the view that they would further advance the bilateral relations.

2. Bilateral relations

Prime Minister Abe mentioned the visit by the Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) mission in October, explained that he was decisively implementing reforms in order to make Japan the best country in the world for doing business, and expressed his expectation of bidirectional investment and further investment in Japan, for the growth of both countries. In response, Prime Minister Bettel expressed interest in Japan’s economic revitalization, and displayed strong interest in strengthening economic relations with Japan, noting that Luxembourg is a small country but is the gateway to Europe.

Additionally, Prime Minister Abe explained that he intended to implement discussions at the working level on the possibility of concluding a bilateral aviation agreement, and in response Prime Minister Bettel highly appreciated the idea.

3. Japan-European Union (EU) relations

Prime Minister Abe stated that the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM FMM12) held in Luxembourg last month produced significant outcome, and he expressed his respect for Luxembourg’s efforts as the host country. The two leaders shared the view that they would aim to realize the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as soon as possible next year, and will also aim to conclude the Japan-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) promptly. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe appreciated the easing of restrictions on importing food and other items produced in Japan, including those from Fukushima Prefecture, and expressed expectation of further easing.

Prime Minister Abe explained that the Legislation for Peace and Security that Japan enacted recently enabled Japan to make greater contributions to the peace and stability of the international community, through such ways as United Nations(UN) Peacekeeping Operations (PKOs) and logistical support, and that this would contribute to strengthening cooperation with the EU also. In response, Prime Minister Bettel expressed support for Japan’s policy of Proactive Contribution to Peace , and explained his understanding that the Legislation for Peace and Securities is a law for preserving peace.

5. Cooperation in the international arena

(1) UN Security Council (UNSC) reform

Prime Minister Abe welcomed the appointment of H.E. Ms. Sylvie Lucas, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the United Nations, as the Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on UNSC Reform. He explained that Japan continued to place importance on UNSC reform for enhancing representation and legitimacy. He further stated that in this year which marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN, the G4 member including Japan held a summit meeting for the first time in 11 years and that the momentum for reform was increasing. Prime Minister Bettel replied that the world had changed a great deal in 70 years and expressed his acknowledgement about the necessity for UNSC reform as well as support for Japan becoming a permanent member of the UNSC. In addition, Prime Minister Bettel stated that he hoped more importance should also be placed on the positions of small countries. Prime Minister Abe explained that in order to take account of small countries’ positions, it would be necessary to expand both permanent and nonpermanent membership.

(2) Counterterrorism

Prime Minister Abe firmly condemned the terrorist attacks in Paris, and stated that it was important to make multifaceted efforts to counter terrorism, such as improving countries’ counterterrorism capabilities, measures to combat the violent extremism that forms the foundation for terrorism, and building societies that do not give rise to extremism, and he explained that Japan would contribute to preventing and eradicating terrorism. Prime Minister Bettel highly appreciated Japan’s assistance for refugees and displaced persons, and stated that terrorism is an attack on the fundamental values of our society and that it was important to show prospects for the future to preventing terrorism. He explained that the Government of Luxembourg was striving to create employment and noted that intergovernmental cooperation on the information exchange front was needed.

(3) Climate change

Prime Minister Abe explained that Japan placed overriding importance on building a fair and effective framework in which all countries participate and in order to encourage participation of developing countries, Japan had pledged to lift the value of its assistance from both the public and private sectors for developing countries to approximately 1.3 trillion yen a year in 2020. Prime Minister Bettel pointed out that it would be necessary to create rules that apply to all countries, and especially mentioned the risks that island countries could face from rising sea levels triggered by climate change.

6. Regional affairs

The two leaders exchanged views on stations in the East Asia situation and Ukraine. With regard to the Ukraine situation, in particular, they shared the importance of implementing the Minsk agreements.

[Cabinet Secretariat] [Saturday, Dec 5, 2015]

Message from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the World Tsunami Awareness Day Resolution (Resolution Adopted at the Second Committee of the United Nations General Assembly)

[Provisional Translation]

On December 5 (December 4 local time), following the adoption of the resolution on the World Tsunami Day by the Second Committee of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, issued the following message:

A resolution on establishing a World Tsunami Awareness Day, which was proposed by Japan and ultimately jointly proposed by 142 countries including Japan, was adopted by consensus at the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in New York on December 5 (December 4 local time). I sincerely welcome this.
The adoption of this resolution, whose goal is to deepen understanding and interest in the threat of tsunami and countermeasures by designating November 5 as the World Tsunami Awareness Day, is extremely significant.
Japan has been leading the international community’s discussions in the disaster risk reduction field, including by holding the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai in March this year. Going forward also, Japan will contribute to make the international community more resilient through capitalizing on its expertise and experience in disaster risk reduction.

[Japan International Cooperation Agency] [Friday, Dec 11, 2015]

JICA Expands Climate Financing through Private Equity Investment for One of the Largest Climate-Related Funds in Developing Asia, collaborating with ADB, Government of the UK and the Private Sector

On December 11, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed an agreement for equity participation in the Asia Climate Partners LP (ACP), a fund jointly managed by Asia Development Bank (ADB), Orix Corporation and Robeco Groep N.V.

ACP is a private equity fund that undertakes commercially-oriented private equity investments across a variety of environmentally supportive, low-carbon transactions throughout developing Asia, and dedicated to investing in renewable energy, clean technology, natural resource efficiency, water, agriculture, forestry and other climate-friendly companies and transactions that are structured to generate market-driven, risk-adjusted returns and have a positive environmental and social impact. JICA will contribute up to USD94.3 million to the fund.

JICA’s participation in the fund is a first concrete transaction under the “Partnership for Quality Infrastructure” policy of the Government of Japan, and falls under the policy’s the second pillar: “Collaboration between Japan and ADB” under This investment will also contribute to the expansion of climate financing to developing countries in line with the outcomes of the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21).

Through this equity investment to the fund, which will be financed from its Private Sector Investment Finance, JICA aims to further mobilize investment from the private sectors into climate financing in developing countries in Asia. JICA will collaborate with not only ADB, ORIX, and Robeco that are managing the fund, but also other investors to the fund such as the Government of the UK, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc., and other institutions, thereby contributing to sustainable economic growth and development of the region.

Going forward, JICA will continue to promote “Partnership for Quality Infrastructure” and will continue to support activities to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pledged in the UN General Assembly in September 2015 and to promote climate financing to developing countries in line with the outcomes of the COP21 meeting, through strengthening collaboration with ADB and other multilateral development banks.

[Japan International Cooperation Agency] [Monday, Dec 7, 2015]

Signing of Japanese ODA Loan Agreement with Ukraine for the Economic Reform Development Policy Loan (II):Contributing to economic and fiscal stabilization in Ukraine through support for institutional reform

On December 4, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a loan agreement with the Government of Ukraine in Kyiv to provide a Japanese ODA loan of up to 36.969 billion yen for the Economic Reform Development Policy Loan (II).

From 2001 through 2008, the economy of Ukraine reached a high level of growth, averaging 7.0 percent real GDP, but the economic downturn in Russia and the EU since 2012 caused a drop to 0.2 percent in 2013. In addition, the country underwent large-scale civil unrest in February 2014 along with a change in administration resulting from anti-government protests that erupted in response to a cabinet resolution to suspend a free trade agreement with the EU in November 2013. As the situation in the country deteriorated further, the international financial markets lowered the credit rating of Ukraine, exports to Russia dropped, and there were an outflow of capital and a reduction in the productivity of major industries. As a result, the country has suffered a loss in foreign currency reserves while facing expanded sovereign debt.

Given these circumstances, the governments of the Group of Seven (G7) and EU nations as well as international agencies such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have announced support for Ukraine. As one of the G7 nations, the Government of Japan announced its support in cooperation with the international community, and has provided Japanese ODA loans for the Economic Reform Development Policy Loan (10 billion yen) and the Bortnychi Sewage Treatment Plant Modernization Project (108.293 billion yen).

Co-financed with the World Bank, this loan supports the next phase of the Economic Reform Development Policy Loan and will support economic growth in Ukraine and fiscal stability by: i) promoting good governance while improving transparency and accountability in the public sector, ii) strengthening the legal framework and reducing costs for business, and iii) implementing reforms for assistance and measures for the poor in the inefficient and biased public sector. This loan is a part of additional support to Ukraine that the Government of Japan announced in January 2015.

In January 2015, the Government of Ukraine announced its Strategy on Sustainable Development “Ukraine – 2020,” which includes 62 priority areas of reform, including fighting corruption, deregulation and the development of entrepreneurship, the improvement of the tax system, and the judiciary and law enforcement, and is moving forward with implementation. It is expected that this loan will help reforms in the areas of corruption prevention, transparency in public finance management, a better business environment, tariff increases for public services to market levels and restructuring the gas sector.

In addition to this loan, JICA has been promoting further institutional reforms by the Government of Ukraine by providing corruption prevention training and training for capacity building of the legislative government and administrative agencies to share experience and knowledge that Japan has.