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Last Update : Friday, Sep 16, 2016

JapanGov Weekly

Cabinet Secretariat [Friday, Sep 9, 2016]

Statement by the Prime Minister of Japan (on the Nuclear Test by North Korea)

1. Today at around 9:30 a.m., the Japan Meterological Agency detected seismic waves which may differ from the ordinary waveform of a natural earthquake, with an epicenter located in North Korea or in its vicinity. Based on a comprehensive consideration of the information including this, the Government of Japan considers that North Korea conducted a nuclear test.

2. The countries concerned including Japan and the international community have repeatedly called on North Korea to fully comply with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs), and repeatedly requested, with strong warnings, not to conduct any further provocation, including nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches. Furthermore, following North Korea’s nuclear test in January and ballistic missile launch, which it purported to be a “satellite”, in February, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2270 in March, which, in addition to strongly condemning them, greatly increased and strengthened sanctions. This nuclear test, which North Korea conducted today despite these calls, is totally unacceptable. In the light of the fact that North Korea went ahead with a series of nuclear tests in an unprecedentedly short period of time, as well as the fact that, this year, North Korea has launched 21 ballistic missiles which could serve as means to deliver weapons of mass destruction, and that it has been enhancing their capability, North Korea’s nuclear development constitutes a grave threat to Japan’s security and seriously undermines the peace and security of the region as well as the international community. The nuclear test by North Korea is a clear and repeated violation of the relevant UNSCRs, and represents a grave challenge to the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime centered on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). It also violates the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration as well as the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. Japan lodges a serious protest against North Korea, and condemns North Korea in the strongest possible terms.

3. Japan has initiated coordination for a prompt meeting of the United Nations Security Council, taking into account UNSCR 2270 which clearly expressed the determination to take further significant measures against North Korea in the event of another nuclear test. Japan reiterates its strong demand for North Korea to immediately and fully implement the relevant UNSCRs and to take concrete action towards comprehensively resolving outstanding issues of concern, including the abductions, nuclear and missile issues.

4. The Government of Japan, based on my instructions, will continue to thoroughly ensure the collection and analysis of information on the situation in North Korea including this matter, and provide the public with accurate information. Furthermore, the Government will also seamlessly maintain necessary posture, to prevent contingencies and to respond most appropriately when they occur, and work closely together with the United States and others, and thereby take all possible measures to ensure peace and security of Japan as well as the security and safety of the people. In addition, with regard to the effect on Japan of radioactive materials associated with the nuclear test, the Government’s “Liaison Meetings for Radiological Countermeasures” will take the lead in making utmost efforts to strengthen the monitoring system in coordination with the countries concerned.
Japan will steadily implement measures of its own including those decided in February and measures under the relevant UNSCRs. Furthermore, the Government will further strengthen collaboration with the countries concerned, such as the United States, the Republic of Korea, China and Russia, seek to ensure the effectiveness of UNSCR 2270 and the other relevant UNSCRs, and consider further measures against North Korea including further action in the United Nations Security Council.

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry [Wednesday, Sep 14, 2016]

Memorandum concerning the Creation of Platforms for Cooperation in the Field of Mid-ranking Companies and Small and Medium Enterprises Concluded with the Ministry of Economic Development, the Russian Federation

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Economic Development, the Russian Federation (Economy Ministry of Russia), concluded a Memorandum concerning of the Creation of Platforms for Cooperation in the Field of Mid-ranking Companies and Small and Medium Enterprises. Under the Memorandum, METI and the Economy Ministry of Russia will create platforms, consisting of related organizations to encourage mid-ranking companies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Japan and Russia to invest in and export to the partner country.

On Saturday, September 3, 2016, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, and H.E. Mr. Alexei Ulyukayev, Minister of Economic Development, the Russian Federation, held a meeting, taking advantage of the opportunity of the Eastern Economic Forum held in Vladivostok, the Russian Federation, and concluded the Memorandum concerning the Creation of Platforms for Cooperation in the Field of Mid-ranking Companies and Small and Medium Enterprises.

The platforms in Japan and Russia will establish working groups, when needed, concerning venture business financing, innovative business, food-related issues and other subjects, and hold seminars, business meetings or other events, dispatch business missions, and support companies in providing financial services, information and knowhow, aiming to encourage SMEs in Japan and Russia to invest in and export to the partner country. In addition, the platforms will strive to solve conflicts SMEs that intend to develop business in Japan and Russia.

Cabinet Secretariat [Friday, Sep 9, 2016]

Council on National Strategic Special Zones

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the 23nd meeting of the Council on National Strategic Special Zones at the Prime Minister's Office.

During the meeting, debate took place on certifying the special zone plan and additional items for regulatory reform.

Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,

“Today, we are joined by Ms. Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo, and we have made the decision to swiftly implement measures that I have been promoting for some time on the acceptance of foreign domestic workers all across Tokyo.

I would like Governor Koike to further promote comprehensive countermeasures on childcare waiting lists, such as the establishment of daycares in urban parks. In addition, we have received a proposal on regulatory reform for the active participation of women. I would like the Government to take into account the needs on the ground, and work to realize this quickly, starting from that which is possible.

Progress is being made on the acceptance of tourists in places like Ota-ku, Tokyo. Concerning the so-called ‘special services in which private residences temporarily take lodgers,’ we have decided to reconsider the limitations that have been in place up to this point that meant that the term would only apply to cases in which lodgers stayed for six nights and seven days or more. From now on, short stay cases of just two nights and three days or more shall also be considered ‘special services in which private residences temporarily take lodgers.’

The National Strategic Special Zones have produced steady results up to this point, yet there are many reforms of remaining vested interests that we still need to tackle.

I would like to request Minister Yamamoto, our new minister in charge of both National Strategic Special Zones and regulatory reform, to work with all the private-sector experts here for even more accelerated and intensive discussions than we have had thus far, on both the realization of the reforms of remaining vested interests that were proposed today, as well as the expansion across the country of the achievements of each special zone.”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs [Monday, Sep 12, 2016]

G7 CONNEX Initiative International Conference On Capacity Building and Transparency

1. On September 15(Thursday) and 16(Friday), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will organize “G7 CONNEX Initiative International Conference on Capacity Building and Transparency” as a follow-up to the G7 Ise-Shima Summit.

2. The G7 initiative on “Strengthening Assistance for Complex Contract Negotiations (CONNEX),” launched at the G7 Brussels Summit in 2014, aims to provide developing country partners, which are advancing economic development through export of extractive products such as energy and mineral resources, with multi-disciplinary and concrete expertise for negotiating complex commercial contracts in order to secure fairness and transparency while protecting interests of the host country and investing companies.

3. At the G7 Ise-Shima Summit held this May, Japan led the discussion and placed CONNEX as one of the global efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, focusing on the efforts on capacity building in the developing countries, improving transparency in extractives industries, and establishing a firm linkage among developing countries with natural resources, investing companies and various international institutions and aid agencies. As a result, the G7 successfully issued the “CONNEX Guiding Principles towards Sustainable Development” a New Window. Based on this achievement, Japan will organize this follow-up conference to disseminate the results as Chair of the G7 and to further develop discussions on our future efforts.

4. This International Conference invites experts from G7, international organizations and countries with natural resources and holds panel discussions on the current international situation of the extractives sector, challenges and opportunities in improving capacity building and transparency on extractive projects, and current trend of extractive companies’ efforts on transparency.

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry [Monday, Sep 12, 2016]

Announcement of Traditional Craft Business Operators, Production Areas and Ten Model Themes Evaluated and Selected under the Craft Meet Project Across Japan

On Tuesday, June 21, 2016, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) launched the Craft Meet Project, which seeks to reevaluate the traditional craft techniques of each area of Japan from a foreign perspective to tap into overseas demand, with the aim of cultivating overseas markets for traditional crafts and revitalizing regional economies. METI hereby announces the traditional craft business operators and production areas evaluated and selected across Japan.

1. Outline of the project
The Craft Meet Project seeks to reevaluate the traditional craft techniques of each area of Japan from a foreign perspective to tap into overseas demand, with the aim of cultivating overseas markets for traditional crafts and revitalizing regional economies by;
1. Identifying traditional craft production areas and business operators that could potentially host experts from overseas;
2. Preparing themes to reevaluate traditional craft techniques and stories;
3. Supporting the branding of production areas.

2. Future plans
On Wednesday, September 7, 2016, METI publicized the traditional craft business operators, production areas and ten model themes, which are evaluated and selected across Japan, on the website ( Meet/external link). In addition, METI will hold a special exhibition for this project as a part of the 82st Tokyo International Gift Show Autumn 2016 held at Tokyo Big Sight from Wednesday, September 7, to Friday, September 9, and will announce the selection results.

The selected business operators, production areas and ten model themes will appear in a brochure (published in Japanese and English) titled “Story Book,” targeting B2B trading. METI will endeavor to introduce the brochure to the world at international exhibitions and other opportunities.