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JapanGov Weekly

Monday, February 18, 2019

Japan-Austria Summit Meeting and Other Events

Cabinet Secretariat, Friday, February 15, 2019

[Provisional Translation]

On February 15, 2019, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a summit meeting and other events with H.E. Mr. Sebastian Kurz, Chancellor of the Republic of Austria, at the Prime Minister’s Office.

The two leaders attended a salute and guard of honor ceremony, followed by a summit meeting. Afterwards, the leaders held a joint press announcement.


 
 

Message of condolences from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe following the terrorist attack in the Northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir

Foreign Affairs, Friday, February 15, 2019

On February 15, following the terrorist attack in the Northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan sent the following message of condolences to H.E. Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India.

“Dear H.E. Prime Minister Narendra Modi,

I resolutely condemn the vicious terrorist attack carried out yesterday in Pulwama of Jammu and Kashmir. On behalf of the Japanese government and people, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to those who lost their lives and their bereaved families, and express my heartfelt sympathy to those who were injured.

I express my heartfelt solidarity to the people of India in the process of overcoming this difficult time.

Such act of terrorism cannot be justified for any reason. Japan is firmly committed to combatting terrorism in cooperation with India and the international community.
Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister of Japan”

(Reference)
On February 14, in the Northern Indian state Jammu and Kashmir, Pulwama, a car carrying explosives crashed into a convoy of Indian security forces, killing at least 44 personnel. The “Jaish-e-Mohammad” militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

 
 

Courtesy Call from Iran’s Parliament Speaker and Others

Cabinet Secretariat, Wednesday, February 13, 2019

[Provisional Translation]

On February 13, 2019, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received a courtesy call from H. E. Dr. Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and others, at the Prime Minister’s Office.


 
 

Council on National Strategic Special Zones

Cabinet Secretariat, Thursday, February 14, 2019

[Provisional translation]

On February 14, 2019, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the 38th meeting of the Council on National Strategic Special Zones at the Prime Minister's Office.

At the meeting, a discussion was held on the certification of special zone plans, and future actions to implement the Super City Initiative.

Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,

“Towards the implementation of the Super City Initiative, today we decided our policy for advancing the development of new legal frameworks and a technological foundation, building on the basis of the National Strategic Special Zones.

We will proactively introduce AI and big data to all aspects of daily life, such as education, healthcare, caregiving, government, energy, and waste management, and integrate these technologies into society. Super Cities will serve as a forerunner of Society 5.0, and an important hub to carve out Japan’s future.

To achieve this, we need to engage in bold regulatory reforms based on unconventional thinking, and advance infrastructure development proactively incorporating groundbreaking innovations.

I ask the relevant ministries and agencies, in particular the Cabinet Office, to collaborate with each other and materialize Super Cities as early as possible based on the policy that we have decided today.


 
 

Council on Investments for the Future

Cabinet Secretariat, Wednesday, February 13, 2019

[Provisional Translation]

On February 13, 2019, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the 23rd meeting of the Council on Investments for the Future at the Prime Minister’s Office.

At the meeting, a discussion was held on developing rules for the digital market, and on Fintech and the financial sector.

Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,

“Today, we first held a discussion about developing rules for the digital market. The volume of data circulating around the world has increased rapidly in recent years. Digital platform enterprise significantly opens up the possibilities to access global markets for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, startups, and individual users. Meanwhile, it is said that users are confronted by difficulties in individual negotiations, unilateral changes made to the terms and conditions, and high costs of use.

For this reason, it is necessary to establish laws or guidelines to ensure transparency and fairness in trade practices. In the digital market, there are also concerns that data monopoly may inhibit competition and this calls for a similar response. We would like to develop a new system to address issues such as the government’s coordination over its competition policies for the digital market, departing from conventional thinking derived from government silos, so as to meet the demand of highly-specialized knowledge and expertise and enable swift responses in the accelerating changes in the digital market.

Secondly, we held a discussion related to the financial sector. The current legal framework, which is divided by the type of business, such as banks and remittance service providers, prevents new entrants from providing services flexibly. For various areas including payment, we aim to consider a bill for the reorganization of the regulatory framework as soon as possible.

With respect to these points, I would like to determine our policy with the action plan to implement the Growth Strategy, which will be complied this summer. I ask Minister Motegi, Minister of Finance Aso who is present here today, and the relevant stakeholders to proceed with due considerations in a concrete manner.”


 
 

Ministerial Council on Child Abuse Prevention Measures

Cabinet Secretariat, Friday, February 08, 2019

[Provisional Translation]

On February 8, 2019, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended a meeting of the Ministerial Council on Child Abuse Prevention Measures at the Prime Minister’s Office.

During the meeting, discussions took place on measures to prevent child abuse.

Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,

“This time, a little girl, Mia, desperately cried for help because of what was happening to her. I am left speechless thinking about how desperate this little girl must have been to gather her courage and report that.
We cannot stop regretting that the adults in schools, boards of education, and child guidance centers, who should act as a fortresses to protect children, were not able to find and listen to Mia’s tragic cry for help and save her life.
We must prevent such terrible cases of child abuse from ever happening again. Today, we compiled a set of measures based on that strong resolve.
Following this, I ask the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and other ministries and agencies to implement these measures immediately, such as the implementation within a month of the emergency safety check of children for all the child abuse cases identified, the establishment of new rules that never show the sources of the reports or related documents, putting the safety of children first, and new rules for relevant institutions to jointly engage with overbearing parents, as well as fundamentally strengthening the system of child welfare officers by increasing the number by 1,000. I want each minister, in particular, Minister Nemoto, to exert every effort towards the eradication of child abuse, with the strong resolve to implement all the necessary measures and do every possible thing, putting the protection of children’s safety first.”


 
 

Exchange of Notes concerning a loan to the Philippines

Foreign Affairs, Sunday, February 10, 2019

1. On February 10 (same day local time), Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, who is visiting the Republic of the Philippines, and H.E. Mr. Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr., Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines, signed and exchanged notes, in Davao City, concerning a provision of a loan to develop a road network that supports the foundation of people’s lives in the conflict affected areas in western part of Mindanao (loan provision of up to 202.04 million US dollars).

2. Overview of the project

The poverty rate of the conflict affected area in Mindanao is the highest in the Philippines due to limited infrastructure investments and other reasons. In particular, development of road network in the region is lagging behind other areas in the country.
Meanwhile, the Mindanao Peace Process is at a critical juncture leading to the establishment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority. In January, plebiscite was conducted under the observation of international community, including the Japanese Mission headed by Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Norikazu SUZUKI.
This project will contribute to developing a road network that supports the foundation of people’s lives in Mindanao; by improving access to public services such as schools and hospitals; and by revitalizing economic activities in the region. The Government of Japan will support the region in the course of the establishment of a new autonomous government in Mindanao scheduled in 2022, with making local people feel the benefit of peace and with contributing to realizing long-cherished peace.
This project is estimated to be utilized by local residents in 2026 (two years after the completion of the Project) as follows:

Average daily traffic volume(vehicles/day) : about 9,000 vehicles/day
Users(person/year) : about 20,000,000 persons/year
Cargo Volume(ton/year) : about 1,550,000 ton/year
(the Road Network Development Project in Conflict Affected Areas in Mindanao)

3. Loan terms of the loan

Interest Rate : USD LIBOR (6 month) +105 bps
Repayment Period : 25 years (inclusive of 7-year grace period)
Procurement terms : untied


 
 

Foreign Minsiter Taro Kono Receives a Courtesy Call from Dr. PAIK Jin-Hyun, President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)

Foreign Affairs, Thursday, February 14, 2019

On February 14, from 15:15 for approximately 15 minutes, Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, received a courtesy call from Dr. PAIK Jin-Hyun, President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). The outline of the courtesy call is as follows.

1. Foreign Minister Kono welcomed the visit to Japan by Dr. Paik, and stated that ITLOS is an important institute for the maintenance of the rule of law and Japan, as a country that places a high priority at the rule of law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), would like to continue working together with the Tribunal and the President.

2. The Foreign Minister indicated that the significance of the law of the sea grows even greater as the maritime issues that the international community faces, from marine environment and climate change to the arctic issues, becomes increasingly complex, and expressed his hope in this regard that ITLOS plays a role to encourage the younger generation to be more interested in such issues.

3. The Foreign Minister added that Japan promotes the initiative on a “free and open Indo-Pacific” to maintain free and open Indo-Pacific based on the rule of law as “international public goods”, and stressed that Japan will continue cooperating with the Tribunal in such efforts.

4. The President responded by praising Japan’s commitment to promoting the rule of law and peaceful settlement of disputes, and expressed his gratitude to Japan for its support and contribution to the Tribunal and the rule of law.