JapanGov Weekly

Monday, May 15, 2017

Liaison Meeting of the Government and Ruling Parties

Cabinet Secretariat, Wednesday, May 10, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the Liaison Meeting of the Government and Ruling Parties at the Prime Minister's Office.

The Prime Minister said in his opening address,

"Over the past few days, mountain fires have occurred in several places, and even now, in Kamaishi, the local government and also the Japan Self-Defense Forces are engaged in fire-fighting activities. We will continue to exert every effort to tackle the fires.
I visited Fukushima Prefecture on April 8, Kumamoto Prefecture on April 14, and Miyagi Prefecture on May 2, and listened to the views of people in the disaster-affected areas. I saw for myself the steady progress made in reconstruction but at the same time I also felt that our work is only half complete. With many people still facing great difficulties, we cannot afford even a single day's delay. The Government and the ruling parties will work as one to further accelerate reconstruction.

North Korea is continuing to carry out acts of provocation, including conducting three ballistic missile launches in April, ignoring the strong warnings of the international community. In response to these actions of North Korea, we will collaborate closely with the relevant countries, including the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), China, and Russia, and continue to strongly urge North Korea to exercise self-restraint. We have been collaborating especially closely with the United States, including the three telephone talks I held with President Trump in April. Moreover, we are continuing to further strengthen the bonds of the Japan-U.S. Alliance, which has already been reinforced by the Legislation for Peace and Security, such as by conducting joint exercises among a U.S. carrier strike group, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force. Since further acts of provocation are a conceivable possibility, we will continue to maintain a high level of vigilance and make all necessary preparations.

Today, Mr. Moon Jae-In will be inaugurated as President of the ROK. The ROK is Japan's most important neighboring country with whom we share many strategic interests. We intend to continue to work together with the ROK in responding to the issue of North Korea and to develop future-oriented Japan-ROK relations.

At the end of last month, I visited Moscow and had in-depth discussions with President Putin on the issue of concluding a peace treaty. We agreed to realize the first ever grave visits by former residents of the Northern Territories by airplane in June. We also agreed to dispatch a joint public and private research team on the joint economic activities this month.
I also held a frank and productive exchange of views with Prime Minister May of the United Kingdom in regard to major issues being faced by the international community, in preparation for the G7 Summit.

At the end of this month, I will attend the G7 Taormina Summit to be held on the island of Sicily in Italy. We intend to hold frank and open discussions on matters such as how to drive global economic growth and how to respond to urgent issues such as North Korea among leaders including those who are newly participating in the Summit. The G7 is a champion of universal values, and we intend to send out a clear message expressing the solidarity of the G7 in addressing the various issues of the international community.

Discussion on important legislation is ongoing in the Diet. The Government will continue to make every effort to provide careful explanations. In regard to the draft legislation to enable the abdication of His Majesty the Emperor, we will continue to diligently carry out the necessary work for presenting it to the Diet. We will make every effort to have this legislation passed during the current session of the Diet and I would appreciate your kind cooperation to that end. Also, I would like to compile the Growth Strategy and Basic Policies for this year in June. While listening to the views of the ruling parties, we intend to accelerate the work to compile them.

On May 3, we commemorated the 70th anniversary of the entry into effect of the Constitution of Japan. Taking the opportunity presented by this occasion, I publicly expressed my views on constitutional amendment, as President of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP), including by sending a video message to a forum on the amendment of the Constitution. I hope there will be active discussions in the Diet and a deepening of public debate on this matter. I would also greatly like to deepen discussions among the political parties, in the Diet, and in the Commission on the Constitution of both the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors. I ask for your cooperation in this regard.
There is much to be done in regard to policy issues. Based on the foundation of the strong coalition between the LDP and Komeito, we will sincerely listen to the views of the people and advance our policies with a sense of urgency, in order to meet the responsibilities placed on us by the public.
I request the continued cooperation of everyone in the ruling parties. Thank you."


Courtesy Call from the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam

Cabinet Secretariat, Monday, May 08, 2017

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received a courtesy call from H.E. Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, at the Prime Minister’s Office.


Congratulatory Message from Prime Minister Abe to Mr. Emmanuel Macron, the President-elect of the French Republic

Foreign Affairs, Monday, May 08, 2017

Dear President-elect Macron,

On behalf of the Japanese Government and the Japanese people, I would like to extend to you my heartfelt congratulations on your splendid victory in the presidential election of your country.

Your election represents a symbolic victory against recent inward-looking and protectionist tendencies, and an expression of confidence in the European Union.

Japan and France are exceptional partners that share the universal values such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Amid continued challenges to the international order, I hope that we will work together for the peace and prosperity of the international community.

I look forward to meeting you on the occasion of the G7 Taormina Summit.


De-escalation Zones Plan in Syria

Foreign Affairs, Tuesday, May 09, 2017

1. On May 4, the agreement on the establishment of de-escalation zones in Syria was announced by Russia, Turkey and Iran in Astana, Kazakhstan. Japan appreciates any efforts to reduce violence in Syria.

2. Japan strongly hopes that this agreement will enhance the cease fire regime and ensure rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access, paving a way for substantial progress in the political process in Syria.


Japan- EU high-level policy dialogue on development cooperation

Foreign Affairs, Monday, May 08, 2017

1. Japan and the EU held their fifth high-level policy dialogue on development cooperation on Monday 8 May in Tokyo, Japan.

2. The Japanese delegation was headed by Mr. Takio Yamada, Director-General of the International Cooperation Bureau of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the EU was represented by Mr. Stefano Manservisi, Director-General for International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission.

3. The parties exchanged views on the Sustainable Development Goals and other global development issues; the discussion focused specifically on the mobilization of private and public sector funding for infrastructure, and emphasized the importance of close cooperation to ensure quality infrastructure investment and enhanced connectivity in Asia and Africa through Indo-Pacific.

4. Japan and the EU will continue to exchange views on the possibility to identify concrete areas to work together in the field.

5. Japan and the EU agreed to hold their next high-level policy dialogue on development cooperation in 2018, at a time and place to be determined.


The Long-term Climate Change Policy Platform Compiles a Report

Foreign Affairs, Friday, April 14, 2017

In July 2016, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) established a Long-term Climate Change Policy Platform (hereinafter referred to as the “platform”), bringing together representatives from the government, industry and academia, and since then the platform has held meetings to discuss long-term measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases extending beyond 2030.

METI hereby announces that the platform compiled a report, based on the discussion results of the Task Force for the Expansion of Inward Investment and the Task Force for Overseas Expansion Strategies, both of which were established under the platform.

1. Outline

The decision made at the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2015, i.e., Paris Agreement, requires Parties to communicate mid-century, long-term, low greenhouse gas emission development strategies to the secretariat by 2020.

To this end, in July 2016, METI established the platform; bringing together representatives from the government, industry and academia, aiming to hold discussions on ideal approaches to taking sustainable countermeasures against global warming that are compatible with Japan’s economic growth toward the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on a long-term basis extending beyond 2030. Since then, along with the eight meetings held by the Task Force for the Expansion of Inward Investment and the six meetings held by the Task Force for Overseas Expansion Strategies, both of which were established under the platform, the platform has held repeated discussions on related issues, while considering feedback concerning discussion results from a Working Group for the National Energy and Environment Strategy for Technological Innovation Towards 2050 (NESTI 2050) established by the Cabinet Office. In addition, concerning a draft interim report on discussion results by the platform released on December 26, 2016, METI broadly called for the provision of evidence and information from a variety of stakeholders inside and outside Japan and received 109 items of evidence and information.

The platform considered these discussion results and the information and compiled a report on the future directions that Japan should take in making progress in countermeasures against global warming.

2. Outline of the report

Japan should seek for a long-term, low greenhouse gas emission development strategy not limited to but beyond conventional ideas within Japan, industries or existing technologies. The strategy stipulates “three arrows” game changers as countermeasures against global warming: (1) international contribution, (2) global value chain-based reductions by industries and companies, and (3) innovation. According to the three-arrow policy, the government, industries and companies should all proactively engage in efforts for reducing carbon emissions by an amount greater than that emitted by themselves, i.e., eventually carbon neutralizing Japan as a whole, and should lead emission-reduction efforts by other countries. Through these efforts, the strategy requires Japan to substantially contribute to the Paris agreement so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases under the agreement.


Rugby World Cup 2019 Pool Draw

Cabinet Secretariat, Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the Rugby World Cup 2019 pool draw, held at the Kyoto State Guest House.