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Last Update : Friday, Sep 9, 2016

JapanGov Weekly

[Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan] [Wednesday, Sep 7, 2016]

Address by Prime Minister Abe on the Occasion of the ASEAN Business & Investment Summit

Chairman Oudet,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honor to have the opportunity today to speak to members of the business community who are driving the economies of Laos and ASEAN.

In December 1965, five members of the very first corps of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers headed to Laos. One of those members, Ms. Masako Hoshino, taught the Japanese language here. Her students were highly aspirational, with broad personal networks and opportunities for interaction. The members of her Laotian host family supported each other equally, regardless of gender. She felt very keenly that Japan also had many things to learn from Laos. Even after finishing her mission as a member of the Volunteers, she remained in Laos for some time.

More than 50 years have passed since then, and Japan has now dispatched some 40 thousand JOCVs to 88 countries around the world. At this very moment, there are Japanese all around the world living amongst the local community and putting their heads together with local people as they continue to carry forward this cooperation.

For more than 55 years, Japan has been cultivating human resources for industry all throughout the world, centered on ASEAN. We have fostered 380 thousand such workers in total, of which half have been in the countries of ASEAN.

In Thailand, enterprising individuals who received training in Japan's manufacturing techniques established a school for teaching the same content to fellow Thais. When I visited the school, the Thai-Nichi Institute of Technology, in January 2013, I planted a jackfruit tree there as a symbol of prosperity.

Just as the tree I planted will grow and continue to bear fruit in the future, Japan's cooperation does not end with a single interaction. Instead, the circle of cooperation grows wider and wider.

Last year, in Kuala Lumpur, I pledged that we would establish new academic courses to foster human resources for industry at approximately 20 universities in ASEAN with the cooperation of Japanese companies.

We are steadily fulfilling this pledge in Laos as well. Laos is like a land bridge that connects different countries. Through cooperation with the National University of Laos and Savannakhet University, next spring we will launch courses in which local students will learn about the logistics employed by Japanese companies.

But we want this to go beyond simply acquiring the know-how behind meticulous logistics. Instead, by thinking together, we want students to become equipped with the power of building up "kaizen" in their respective workplaces. That is the wish behind these courses.

We would like the people who have studied here to use their experience to immediate effect in Japanese companies that have logistics hubs in Laos. We hope they will come to manage local subsidiaries in future. Moreover, we wish them to become leaders driving Laos' industrial development.

Laos can not only develop through the coming and going of neighboring countries' goods, but can also take a further leap forward by increasing value-added and exporting goods "made in Laos".

Let us consider Laos' ancient capital, Luang Prabang. A World Cultural Heritage Site, which a large number of tourists visit every year. The morning market in Phousi boasts arrays of freshly picked vegetables and fruit sourced from right nearby. Is there no way to deliver this produce, fresh, across the ASEAN market, with its 600 million people?

What will bring this about, in addition to human resources, is transportation infrastructure connecting producing regions with markets, along with enhanced transparency and facilitation of trade procedures.

Here, there are great hopes for the AEC-the ASEAN Economic Community. In addition to eliminating tariffs, progress is underway in transitioning to a "single window" for customs clearance procedures.

The next issue to tackle is expanding the efforts of the AEC to deal with reforms of various domestic regulations. I call on ERIA to quantify the trade restricting effects of specific types of non-tariff measures and pinpoint priority issues.

At the G20 Hangzhou Summit, leaders agreed to avoid protectionism and promote free and open trade to achieve sustainable growth, even as the global economic outlook grows less clear.

Japan will expand the sphere of free and fair economies globally. We are determined to take strong leadership to achieve this.

The TPP in particular is key to our growth strategy. The TPP was agreed after clearing political hurdles. We must not allow it to come to a standstill. Securing domestic approval as early as possible will give momentum to early entry into force. Japan will dedicate its greatest possible effort to this issue.

The TPP will not divide ASEAN. It is a framework that allows for participation as each country becomes prepared to do so. Japan will support ASEAN countries wishing to participate in the TPP so that they can bring their plans to fruition.
At the same time, we will push forward resolutely with RCEP as well, to achieve a high-quality agreement.

Japan has learned many things in the course of its history of cooperation with ASEAN, leading to its current form. I believe there are two central themes that serve as a model for Japan's overseas cooperation.

The first is "Open and Inclusive Cooperation." Beyond just Japan and ASEAN, the whole world can participate and benefit. Take, for example, Myanmar's Thilawa Special Economic Zone. This project can rightfully be called the symbol of Japan-Myanmar cooperation. Japanese companies make up only about half of the Zone's tenant companies, and a sizeable number of businesses from non-ASEAN countries have also set up shop there.

The second is "Cooperation that Values Individuals." We want to enhance the well-being of the people in our partner countries. That is precisely why we place importance on not only government but also business exchanges. Japanese companies' work has a meticulous focus on quality and places great value on individuals. By listening to voices from ASEAN's local companies and consumers, and by taking a long-term view, companies become firmly rooted in local communities. They think together, and walk together, with ASEAN.

Japan aims at cooperation through which the people of ASEAN can lead more prosperous daily lives.

Let us walk together towards a future when, across ASEAN, fresh produce from Laos and all its other members comes and goes freely without question.

When investment from Japan and across the world increases even further, and ASEAN continues its economic development.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us walk together towards such a future. Thank you very much.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan [Thursday, Sep 1, 2016]

Meeting of Prime Minster Abe and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

On Thursday, September 1, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minster of Japan, held a meeting from 3:10pm for approximately for 45 minutes with H.R.H. Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who was making an official visit to Japan. The overview of the meeting is as follows. After the meeting, Prime Minister Abe and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed witnessed exchanges of memorandums of cooperation between authorities of the two countries in areas including cultural exchange, small- and medium-sized enterprises, measures to combat counterfeit products, energy and industrial cooperation, as well as an exchange of a memorandum and other documents between both countries’ news agencies (list of exchanged documents). Afterwards, Prime Minister Abe hosted a banquet for Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed.

1. Opening Remarks

Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan placed importance on Saudi Arabia, not only from the energy perspective, but also in terms of ensuring stability in the Middle East and significant business opportunities in Saudi Arabia. He recognized that Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed, who takes the lead in the new generation, seeks to significantly transform Saudi Arabia’s economy and society through the formulation of “Vision 2030” and other measures, and expressed Japan’s support for this direction and willingness to cooperate for the realization of the Vision. In addition, Prime Minister Abe expressed his hope to dramatically advance the Japan-Saudi relationship together with Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed with the momentum generated on his visit to Japan. In response, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome and Japan’s support for Vision 2030, and stated his hope to cooperate with Japan in wide-ranging areas.

2. Cooperation for Vision 2030

Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan will cooperate with Saudi Arabia towards the realization of Vision 2030, which is led by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed, by mobilizing Japan’s expertise and wisdom to the full, as there are a number of areas for cooperation, such as investment mainly in the manufacturing sector, promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises, human resources development, and promotion of culture, entertainment and sports.

Prime Minster Abe and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed, aiming to have intensive discussions on the implementation of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and Japan’s growth strategy, agreed to launch a ministerial-level “Japan-Saudi Joint Group for Vision 2030” and to hold the first meeting of the Group in October 2016. Moreover, Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan will start considering coordination related to investment and financing with Saudi Arabia along with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), and the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan.

Prime Minster Abe and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed also agreed on cooperation in the energy field in implementing Vision 2030. Furthermore, they welcomed the decision to expand joint oil reserves with Saudi Aramco, which started following a proposal made by Prime Minister Abe on his visit to Saudi Arabia in 2007.

Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan is ready to cooperate in the field of culture, entertainment and sports on which Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed places importance, including through introducing Japanese anime and other pop culture, supporting Saudi Arabia’s first orchestra, promoting sports exchange and assisting the training of athletes towards the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In response, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed welcomed the proposals and stated that he hopes to further strengthen the Japan-Saudi economic partnership as Saudi Arabia enjoys a large economic presence in the Gulf region and the Arab and Islamic worlds and offers opportunities across wide ranging fields including manufacturing and services. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed also expressed Saudi Arabia’s willingness to invest in Japan. In addition, he also noted the importance of cooperation in agriculture.

3. Security Cooperation

Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan will contribute even further to global peace and stability, under the policy of Proactive Contribution to Peace based on the principle of international cooperation and with the Legislation for Peace and Security, an act to put in practice the aforementioned policy.

Prime Minister Abe stated that the memorandum on defense exchange which Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed was to sign the following day is a cornerstone for the reinforcement of defense cooperation and that he is pleased with the signing.

Prime Minister Abe and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed also discussed measures to fight against terrorism, and Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan is active in making contribution in non-military areas, such as humanitarian assistance for refugees.

In response, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed stated that he hopes to strengthen cooperation with Japan in every area including politics, economy and security, and that Saudi Arabia too takes the impact of terrorism very seriously. He further stated, while referring to the Islam military coalition to counter terrorism which had been formed under Saudi Arabia’s initiative, that it is necessary to take military, political and ideological approaches in the fight against terrorism.

4. Regional Affairs

Prime Minister Abe and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed exchanged opinions on the situation in Asia and the Middle East and various issues facing the international community. Prime Minister Abe explained the need to increase pressure on North Korea, including through strictly implementing relevant Security Council Resolutions, toward the comprehensive resolution of outstanding issues of concern such as the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea and other humanitarian and human rights issues as well as nuclear and missile issues. In response, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed expressed support for Japan.

China was also touched upon in the course of discussion on the situation in East Asia. Prime Minister Abe explained the recent state of Japan-China relations and the situation in East Asia. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed, recognizing Japan’s importance to Saudi Arabia, expressed his understanding for Japan’s position.

Prime Minister Abe referred to the increasingly turbulent situation in the Middle East and expressed his concerns about acts of terrorism by ISIL and other violent extremists, conflicts and stalled political processes in Yemen, Syria and other locations, and serious deterioration of humanitarian conditions.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe stated that cooperation between major players in and outside the Middle East, particularly between Saudi Arabia and Iran, is the key for stability in the region. He also stated that it is important, in the mid-to-long term, to build an inclusive, tolerant and stable society and that Japan will provide assistance in human resource development and reduction of economic disparity and hopes to work together with the Deputy Crown Prince in such efforts. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed stated that Saudi Arabia will contribute to peace and stability in the region as a major player in the region.

Photograph of the Prime Minister shaking hands with the Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Photograph of the salute and the guard of honor Photograph of the Prime Minister meeting with the Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Photograph of the exchange of signed documents Photograph of the exchange of signed documents

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan [Monday, Sep 5, 2016]

Japan-China Summit Meeting

1 Opening Remarks

In his opening remarks, President Xi once again expressed his gratitude for Prime Minister Abe's attendance at the G20 Summit. He stated that Japan and China were mutual neighbors and that the development of a long-term healthy relationship between the two countries was in the interest of the people of both countries. He also stated that the relationship between the two countries had been in an improvement process since November 2014, but sensitive problems stand out due to the interference of complicated matters, and that efforts should be made to quickly return the relationship to a normal path.
In response, Prime Minister Abe expressed his respect for the G20 Summit preparations and congratulations on the Summit's results. He also noted the importance of this Summit event for the realization of sustainable growth of the global economy and stated that while Japan and China faced some difficult issues, Japan hoped to build a stable and friendly relationship not only through managing difficult issues but also by moving forward with cooperation and interaction from a broad perspective based on the concept of a "Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests."
Prime Minister Abe mentioned North Korea's launches of further ballistic missiles that landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) today and addressed that these type of missile launches during the G20 Summit Meeting were an unacceptable act of recklessness.

2 Japan-China Relationship

(1) General Affairs

Prime Minister Abe noted that the Japan-China relationship had experienced some ups and downs since their previous meeting in Jakarta in April 2015, but commented that it was important to meet frequently and promote a "Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests" from a broad perspective and foreseeing the longer-term schedules.
President Xi replied to this point, and the two leaders reconfirmed that Japan and China had agreed on four points in November 2014 and confirmed their resolve to put the agreement that they are "partners for cooperation and should not pose a threat to each other" from the Japan-China Joint Statement of 2008 into action and work for further improvement and advancement of the relationship.

(2) Dialogue, Cooperation, and Interaction

a. Regarding specific cooperation between Japan and China, Prime Minister Abe expressed his interest in the expansion of positive aspects of the relationship by moving forward with dialogue, cooperation, and interaction in a variety of areas, including the five areas of cooperation

(Note 1) and three common challenges (Note 2) proposed by Japan.

(Note 1)Five areas of cooperation: ((a) macro-economy, financial and monetary affairs, (b) energy-saving and the environment, (c) a low birthrate and an aging population, (d) tourism, and (e) disaster prevention)

(Note 2)Three common challenges: ((a) North Korea, (b) cooperation at the United Nations, and (c) counterterrorism and Middle Eastern affairs)

b. President Xi offered comments, looking ahead to next year and the subsequent year, and the two leaders agreed on the following points.
Enhance mutual trust, appropriately manage issues, and improve national sentiment in both countries by conducting dialogue and cooperation on common issues both countries are facing, promoting a variety of interactions, and expanding positive aspects in the Japan-China relationship based on the concept of a "Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests;"
Bolster cooperation on counter-terrorism measures and hold discussions on counter-terrorism measures in Tokyo on September 28 as part of this effort;
Conduct further discussions on strengthening financial cooperation; and
Enhance interaction in a variety of area ahead of the 45th anniversary of normalizing diplomatic relations next year, the 40th anniversary of the Japan-China Treaty of Friendship and Peace in the following year, and Olympic events in the two countries in 2020 and 2022.

c. Additionally, Prime Minister Abe mentioned the visit to Japan by Dr. Li Keqiang, the Prime Minister of the People's Republic of China, for the Japan-China-Republic of Korea Summit being held this year as well as the following points.
Japan would like to conduct administrative-level discussions for prompt elimination of import restrictions on Japanese food products and for export promotion of Japanese rice.
A group mission of about 230 Japanese economic representatives will be visiting China soon, which will be an excellent opportunity for economic interaction. He hopes that the group has meaningful dialogue with Chinese leaders. In response, President Xi acknowledged the importance of strengthening economic ties and welcomed the visit to China by such group mission of economic representatives.

(3) The East China Sea

Prime Minister Abe stated that the unusual activities by Chinese government vessels and military forces in the East China Sea were extremely regrettable and called for an end to actions that unilaterally raise tensions as well as an improvement of the situation. He also commented that the Japan-China relationship cannot stabilize unless there is stability in the East China Sea and called for mutual cooperation to make it truly a "Sea of Peace, Cooperation, and Friendship."
In response, President Xi commented that China would like to sustain peace and stability in the East China Sea.
The two leaders agreed to hold senior official maritime discussions in Hiroshima from September 14 and use this opportunity to resume negotiations regarding the conclusion of an international agreement based on the "2008 Agreement" related to the development of natural resources in the East China Sea.
The two leaders also agreed to accelerate discussions between defense authorities to promptly begin operation of a maritime-air communication mechanism.

3 Regional Situations

(1) The South China Sea

Prime Minister Abe commented that Japan hopes that China acts appropriately in regard to the South China Sea issue, a matter of common interest to the international community, including Japan, that directly affects regional peace and stability. He also encouraged China to follow the rules of international law and work to remove uncertainty among neighboring countries.
In response, President Xi explained China's existing position.

(2) North Korea

Prime Minister Abe stated that specific measures should be taken against repeated provocative actions by North Korea, such as the ballistic missiles fired today and SLBM launched last month and urged China to respond constructively as a responsible permanent member of the UN Security Council. He also expressed his hope for cooperation in addressing the abductions issues.

Photograph of the Prime Minister shaking hands with the President of China (Pool Photo)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan [Sunday, Sep 4, 2016]

Japan-Egypt Summit Meeting

On September 4, commencing at about 12:40 p.m. local time (1:40 p.m. JST), for approximately 35 minutes Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, who was visiting Hangzhou (China) to attend the G20 Summit Meeting, held a Japan-Egypt Summit Meeting with H.E. Mr. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt. The overview is as follows.

1 Japan-Egypt Relationship

(1)Opening Remarks

President El-Sisi expressed his pleasure at meeting with Prime Minister Abe again in such a short amount of time (since his visit to Japan in February 2016). He also commented that the relationship between the two countries had advanced considerably since the visit.
In response, Prime Minister Abe expressed his pleasure at having the opportunity to meet again following the February meeting. He noted that the visit to Japan contributed to dramatic progress in the relationship between the two countries and commented that Japan intended to continue expanding relations.

(2)Bilateral Relationship

President El-Sisi expressed his desire to enhance cooperation in education, energy, culture, sports, and other areas as well as his appreciation for additional loans to the Grand Egyptian Museum.
Prime Minister mentioned the following points.
He extended his appreciation for President El-Sisi's favorable view of Japanese-style education and indicated that Japan hoped to realize prompt provision of foreign student loans based on the Egypt-Japan Education Partnership launched by the two countries.
He communicated Japan's intent to provide additional loans to the Grand Egyptian Museum.
He expressed his interest in cooperation ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in the field of sports.

2 Cooperation in the International Arena and Regional Situations

The two leaders also agreed to move forward in cooperation in the international arena. They exchanged opinions about regional situations where the countries have common interests.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan [Monday, Sep 5, 2016]

Japan-Brazil Summit Meeting

1. On the morning of September 5 (local time), Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, who is visiting Hangzhou (China) for the G20 Hangzhou Summit,held a Japan-Brazil Summit Meeting with H.E. Mr. Michel Miguel Elias Temer Lulia, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil.

2. Prime Minister Abe offered his congratulations on the success of the Rio Olympic Games. He also commented that Brazil is an important partner for Japan, with the largest population of Japanese descendants in the world, and as a country that shares fundamental values of democracy and rule of law. Prime Minister Abe also expressed interest in strengthening the close bilateral cooperation at a global level.

3. President Temer noted that Japan and Brazil have many points in common and expressed his desire to achieve results that contribute to friendship and prosperity.

4.The two leaders exchanged opinions on bolstering economic relations between the two countries and cooperating in global matters.