Worldwide Officers Meeting of The Boston Consulting Group
Cabinet Secretariat, Monday, May 22, 2017
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the Worldwide Officers Meeting of The Boston Consulting Group held in Tokyo.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Article contributed to The Huffington Post (U.S.)
Foreign Affairs, Thursday, May 25, 2017
1. Without peace and security, there is no growth or prosperity
I will be in Taormina shortly to join the G7 Summit. In the one year since I chaired the Ise-Shima Summit, we have witnessed the emergence of new leaders on the heels of presidential elections in the U.S. and France, and referendums in the U.K. and Italy. With these processes laying bare doubts over free trade and divisions in society, the world closely watched the choices made by the people in each country.
2. Security threats and determined response
eanwhile, security threats that endanger growth and prosperity are growing day by day. Despite stern warnings from the international community, North Korea continues to develop nuclear weapons and missiles, and has launched more than 30 ballistic missiles since last year. Last week, North Korea launched a missile reaching an altitude of over 2,000 kilometers. This drew strong criticism from the international community, as exemplified by a United Nations statement condemning the act. And this week, it again conducted a launch in defiance of such criticisms. Last week’s missile was launched on an extremely high trajectory. If launched on an ordinary trajectory, tentative estimates suggest that it could have flown to the mid-Pacific in the East, to central Eurasia in the West, or to the entire South China Sea in the South. The threat now extends beyond Northeast Asia. Another concern posed by North Korea is advances in its intercontinental ballistic missile technologies.
To solve these problems, we must further strengthen our international solidarity with the U.S. and the Republic of Korea, as well as build unity with China and Russia.
Coupled with these issues, terrorism is spreading around the world, and ISIL’s maneuverings continue. Cyberterrorism is also inflicting greater harm across borders. We must not allow any delay in forming international solidarity against such threats.
3. The importance of free trade and three factors for making its importance understood
We are approaching the 10-year mark since the start of the global financial crisis, the Lehman collapse. Many countries and regions have made tenacious efforts to ride out the crisis and ensure a growth path. Looking at things globally, however, much remains to be done on issues such as youth unemployment, wage levels and productivity.
The key to overcoming these challenges is free trade. While growth in trade used to exceed economic growth, this has not been the case in the last several years. Free trade allows people to fully demonstrate their creativity and ingenuity, and to extend their fruits beyond borders to enrich societies around the world. That is why I place an emphasis on free trade.
Facing free trade, however, is strong criticism in many corners of the world. I believe there are three factors that are crucial to gaining people’s understanding on free trade.
(1) To take a coordinated approach, covering policies that spread the fruits of free trade within one’s country.
Since taking office at the end of 2012, I have kept results as a motto. In Japan, we have realized GDP growth, more jobs, and increased tax revenues which we have invested into areas such as social security and education. Positive GDP growth was posted for five straight quarters. The annualized growth rate of GDP for the first quarter of this year broke 2 percent. There are 1.85 million more jobs, over 80 percent of which have gone to women. Having an unemployment rate of 2.8 percent, we are nearly at full employment. Almost 800,000 full-time jobs were created and the employment ratio of new graduates is effectively close to 100 percent. Our achievements continue. The Gini coefficient after income redistribution is also turning downward. We also began providing scholarships to young people that require no refund.
Company revenues increased by 22 trillion yen over the past four years. All-out efforts are made to circulate the fruits of growth nationwide by urging companies to increase wages, and encouraging large companies to make fairer dealings with small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Furthermore, reforms are promoted with appropriate transition periods in place, so that industries affected by liberalized trade can adapt to the changes. Additionally, I spare no effort to create an environment where SMEs and Japan’s food industry can expand their businesses overseas.
Placing importance on investing in human resources and empowering women, I will continue to make the realization of “a society in which all citizens are dynamically engaged,” i.e., inclusive society à la japonaise, the core of my policy.
(2) To ensure not only free but also “fair” trade, and to improve rules from that perspective.
Since the beginning of this century, many emerging and developing countries joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). The world welcomed them with the hope that “this will help spread common rules worldwide and trade will be conducted in a free and fair manner.” With time, we found that some countries enforce rules inadequately. For example, they force technology transfers to receiving states, fail to discipline state-owned enterprises, or make rules but do not comply with them. The steel trade is a prime example. Without ensuring fairness, trust in free trade will be eroded and support for it will peter out.
Ensuring fairness in taxes and finances, and fighting flows of illicit funds, are essential to gaining people’s trust in international frameworks, and the G7 should take the lead on this.
When we ask ourselves “what is fair?” we should think of trade in the context of a win-win situation, not as a zero-sum game where “if one side gains, the other side loses.”
Confronting a variety of difficult issues, such as global warming and the impending aging of populations, the key to finding solutions to these global challenges is cross-border sharing of people’s diverse knowledge and experience. Governments should continue to lower the barriers that stifle people’s activities. At the same time, they must improve and strengthen the rules that duly protect the outputs of innovation, including through the protection of intellectual property rights. If many countries share common rules, this also could reduce the costs of customs and transport.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) can address these concerns. That is why I firmly believe that the Asia-Pacific region, which is the growth center of the world, needs the TPP. I welcome the progress made at the ministerial meeting in Hanoi last week, attended by 11 countries, including Japan.
In addition to the TPP, Japan is building a global network of rules through economic dialogue with the U.S., negotiation of the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
(3) To contribute to inclusive development across the globe.
Japan’s contribution to nation-building in Asian countries started more than half a century ago, and now in this century, Japan has stepped up supports for the development of Africa with the joint efforts of the public and private sectors. Last summer, we held the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) on the African continent for the first time. Nearly 200 Japanese companies accompanied me. The pillar of Japan’s cooperation is fostering human resources and industry in Africa. Along with industry, we will further enhance our cooperation in agriculture and food production capacity.
Drawing on Japan’s technological prowess and sophisticated finishing methods, we will also contribute further to developing quality infrastructure in Asia and elsewhere, including developed countries. Our financial cooperation of $200 billion will be at full-throttle by the end of this year as well.
Many people in Asia and Africa will acquire new skills, improve their local infrastructure, deepen their connectivity and strengthen their self-reliance. No other country besides Japan, I believe, can make this contribution.
The global economy is beginning to show signs of a positive turnaround. However, unresolved issues remain in many countries, regions and the world, while pressed by new challenges such as global warming and the impending aging of their populations. This is compounded by North Korea and ISIL that are explicitly challenging global security and prosperity.
Without peace and security, there is no growth or prosperity. The leaders of the G7, who share fundamental values, must unite and lead the world in standing up to these difficult problems. Welcoming new friends and fresh ideas, we, the G7, must display a solidarity more than ever. I, too, shall do my best to this end.
Message of condolence from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Prime Minister Theresa May of the U.K. following the Terrorist Attack in Manchester
Cabinet Secretariat, Tuesday, May 23, 2017
I am greatly shocked by the appalling terrorist attack at a concert hall in Manchester where many young music-lovers gather.
On behalf of the Japanese government and people, I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the victims as well as my sympathies to the wounded.
Peaceful life and young people with great future ahead became the target of the terrorist attack. I cannot help but feel strong resentment. In this difficult time, I wish to express my heartfelt solidarity.
No terrorist attack can erode our unity. At the G7 Summit Meeting in Taormina, I would like to express the G7's strong determination to resolutely stand up against terrorism. In close cooperation with the United Kingdom and the international community, Japan will continue its efforts to combat terrorism.
Press Occasion on North Korea’s Missile Launch
Cabinet Secretariat, Sunday, May 21, 2017
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a press occasion at the Prime Minister's Office.
In regard to North Korea's missile launch, the Prime Minister said,
"Despite the strong warnings of the international community, North Korea has once again conducted a ballistic missile launch within one week. This is an act of provocation against the world that flies in the face of the efforts of the international community to achieve a peaceful resolution. The G7 Summit is scheduled to take place this week. We intend to thoroughly discuss the North Korea issue as one of the core issues. I would like the G7 to send out a clear message about this issue. It is of course important that we work together with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States, but it is also important that we work together with China and Russia. We will respond firmly, while working in unity with the United States, the ROK, as well as China, and Russia, and also collaborating with the international community."
Japan-Argentina Summit Meeting and Other Events
Cabinet Secretariat, Friday, May 19, 2017
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a summit meeting and other events with H.E. Mr. Mauricio Macri, President of the Argentine Republic, at the Prime Minister's Office.
The two leaders attended a salute and ceremony by the guard of honor and then held a summit meeting. Afterwards the leaders attended a memorandum signing ceremony and a joint press announcement.
Lastly, the Prime Minister hosted a banquet at the Prime Minister's Official Residence and said in his address,
"I wish to once again offer my heartfelt welcome to President and Mrs. Macri on their visit to Japan. When I think of Argentina, above all, I remember the moment it was decided in Buenos Aries that we would host the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The Argentinian steak that I ate at that time tasted so delicious and left even more of an impression on me. When I visited Argentina last year too, I was once again deeply impressed by the delicious steak that was served at the dinner at the Office of the President.
Among Japanese people, Argentina is most often associated with the tango. The tango is so popular here that since 2004, Japan has hosted the Asian Championship of the Tango Dance World Championship every year. When I last visited Argentina, I also enjoyed watching the tango during a luncheon. Since I myself unfortunately cannot dance the tango, I was hoping to myself the whole time that I would not be asked to join in at some point during the song. One of my Cabinet members in attendance today, Kozo Yamamoto, who is also President of the Japan-Argentina Parliamentary Friendship League, is a great lover of the tango, and is well-known for his ability to dance it. I have never seen him dance, but I am sure he must be a very good tango dancer.
Japan and Argentina have a long history of friendly relations. Next year will be the 120th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Immigration from Japan to Argentina started in 1907 and Argentina currently has the third largest community of Japanese descendants in South America. The connections that we have with the hearts of Japanese-Argentinians serve as an indispensable bridge between our two countries.
We have invited to today's banquet many different leaders who are supporting these kinds of invaluable friendly relations between our two countries in a variety of different fields, including politics, the economy, and culture. It is thanks to all of your support that the Japan-Argentina relationship is what it is today. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all of you, and my hope that you will continue to work with us toward the further development of this relationship.
Finally, I would like to offer a toast. May President Macri's visit mark the start of a new chapter in the history of our two countries."
Japan-Argentina Summit Meeting
Foreign Affairs, Friday, May 19, 2017
On May 19, commencing at 6:10 p.m. for approximately 50 minutes, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, held a summit meeting with H.E. Mr. Mauricio Macri, President of the Argentine Republic, who is making an Official Visit to Japan. The overview of the meeting is as follows.
1. Opening remarks
(1) Prime Minister Abe welcomed President Macri’s visit to Japan, the first visit by a President of Argentina in 19 years, along with expressing his support for President Macri’s leadership in driving Mercosur and South America by promoting various free and open reforms. Additionally, Prime Minister Abe explained that in light of the 120th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2018 next year, he hopes to establish a new Japan-Argentina relationship.
(2) In response, President Macri expressed his gratitude for this invitation to Japan, and for being able to develop a strategic partnership with Japan towards the 120th anniversary of next year.
2. Bilateral relations
(1) Strategic partners
Prime Minister Abe explained that as “strategic partners” that share fundamental values, he hopes Japan and Argentina will accumulate concrete outcomes through venues such as policy consultations, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference and the G20 Summit that will be held in Argentina toward next year.
(2) Strengthening economic relations
Prime Minister Abe welcomed that a substantial agreement was recently reached on an investment agreement, along with mentioning that Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) resumed loan operation to the government of Argentina for the first time in 20 years, and stating that he hopes to continue promoting quality infrastructure investment. Prime Minister Abe also welcomed the creation of a “Roadmap for strengthening trade and economic relations” for the Japan-Argentina Joint Committee on Promoting Trade and Investment, the establishment of a bilateral dialogue on agriculture, livestock, fishing, forestry and agroindustrial sectors, as well as the progress with discussions on trade of agricultural products.
(3) Exchanges of nationals
Prime Minister Abe welcomed the signing of a memorandum of cooperation on a working holiday program, which is Japan’s first agreement of this kind with a Latin American country, along with stating that he intends to further advance exchanges of nationals, including people-to-people exchanges, sports and tourism, toward the success of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
3. Cooperation in the regional affairs and the international fora
Prime Minister Abe noted the importance of ensuring freedom of navigation at sea, including in the East China Sea and South China Sea, and of respecting the rule of law. The two leaders strongly condemned nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches by North Korea, and shared the view that they will urge North Korea to comply with the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and other international commitments.
Following the summit meeting, three documents, the Memorandum of Cooperation in the field of agriculture, livestock, fishing, forestry and agroindustry, the Memorandum in the field of Digital Terrestrial Television and in the field of information and communications technology and the Memorandum of Cooperation on a Working Holiday Program were signed in the presence of the two leaders. Subsequently the two leaders held a joint press conference and issued the Joint Press Statement. Prime Minister Abe and Mrs. Abe then hosted a dinner where the two leaders had conversation on a broad range of topics relating to the bilateral relations.
Courtesy Call from the Director-General of the WTO
Cabinet Secretariat, Monday, May 22, 2017
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received a courtesy call from Mr. Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), at the Prime Minister's Office.
Headquarters on Creating Dynamism in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Industries and Local Communities
Cabinet Secretariat, Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the 21st meeting of the Headquarters on Creating Dynamism in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Industries and Local Communities at the Prime Minister's Office.
During the meeting, discussion took place on the progress of measures based on the Plan for Creating Dynamism in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Industries and Local Communities and on new policy issues, among other matters.
Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,
"We will turn agriculture into a growth industry. Based on this strong resolve, the Abe Cabinet has been robustly advancing fundamental reforms covering the entirety of agricultural policy. As a result, the number of new farmers in their 40s or younger has exceeded 23,000 people, which is the largest number since we started keeping statistics. Most recently, agricultural income produced totaled 3.3 trillion yen per year, growing to the highest level in the past 11 years. Agricultural exports have also set new records for four consecutive years. If you put your mind to it, anything is possible. The Abe Cabinet will accelerate agricultural policy reform.
We will work quickly to materialize the reforms in the areas of production material and distribution, including promoting business reorganization and new entrants based on the recently enacted Law on Strengthening the Competitiveness of the Agricultural Industry as well as reforming the wholesale market. In particular, concerning the reform of agricultural cooperatives, including ZEN-NOH (National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations), we will thoroughly follow up on this and continue to strongly advance reforms for farmers so that achievements can be made within the concentrated promotion period for reforms that will end in June 2019.
We will steadily implement improvement measures to further enhance the performance of farmland consolidation banks and exports. We will also actively work on new issues, such as expanding uses for wild game.
Following on the agricultural industry, we will also attempt to make the forestry and fisheries industries into growth industries. The artificial forests created in the post-World War II period are ready to be harvested, and the time has come to fully use this resource. In addition, Japan is surrounded by waters containing one of the world's leading fertile fishing grounds. We will sufficiently tap their latent potential, and start discussions on fundamental reforms that will lead to the increased vitalization of the regions.
What is important is to face these issues head on and produce results. I ask that the relevant parties make further efforts in order to turn the agricultural, forestry, and fisheries industries into fields that young people can entrust their dreams and futures to."
Regulatory Reform Promotion Council
Cabinet Secretariat, Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the 18th meeting of the Regulatory Reform Promotion Council at the Prime Minister's Office.
During the meeting, the first report on regulatory reform promotion was compiled.
After receiving the report from Ms. Hiroko Ota, Chair of the Council, the Prime Minister said,
"Today, the Regulatory Reform Promotion Council, which was established in September of last year, compiled its first report. I want to express my sincere gratitude to all of the members of this Council, including Chair Ota and Acting Chair Kanemaru, for the intensive discussions you have carried out.
Four and a half years into Abenomics, regulatory reform remains our utmost priority. AI is changing society, and the population is aging at tremendous speed. Under such circumstances, it will be the flexible revision of regulations and systems without being caught up in conventional frameworks that will create a strong economy.
For the current term, you have set forth the new pillars of: the reform of the distribution system for milk and dairy products; the creation of rules that encourage the flexible combination of services covered and not covered by long-term care insurance; the review of employment rules to support a variety of work styles; and measures that will reduce administrative procedure costs by more than 20% by 2020.
Based on the report I received today, I am resolved to establish a regulatory reform action plan immediately, and implement the reforms you have outlined at the earliest possible timing.
We still need to work on many regulatory reforms if we want to be sure that we open the door to the future for the Japanese economy. I ask that the members of this Council continue to make dedicated efforts to realize bold regulatory reforms. I will do everything in my power to support this."
Meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy
Cabinet Secretariat, Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the eighth meeting in 2017 of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy at the Prime Minister's Office.
At the meeting, there was discussion on social security reform, the state of implementation of economic measures to realize investments for the future, and Basic Policies.
Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,
"Today, we first discussed social security reform. To achieve the fundamental reform of the pharmaceutical price system, members of the private sector offered various proposals, including on the way frameworks should be set up to foster revolutionary new pharmaceuticals while keeping down the prices of other pharmaceuticals. Based on today's discussion, I want Minister Shiozaki to continue to deepen the debate in order to reach a conclusion on this topic within this year, with the goal of promoting innovation in drug development, while at the same time realizing a balance between reducing the cost burden on the public and improving the quality of medical care.
Secondly, we confirmed the state of implementation of economic measures. With the Olympic Games and other events approaching, demand for construction work is rising. Against this backdrop, there was discussion on the need to take active steps to secure workers and increase productivity in order to ensure that both public and private sector construction projects proceed smoothly. I want Minister Ishihara to continue to follow up on the state of implementation of economic measures. I would like Minister Ishii to steadily take responses based on today's discussion.
Thirdly, we discussed the draft outline of the Basic Policies. I would like the Council to accelerate work for the development of concrete measures based on today's discussion, in order to ensure that the Basic Policies can be compiled next month."
Council on National Strategic Special Zones
Cabinet Secretariat, Monday, May 22, 2017
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the 30th 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, an evaluation of the National Strategic Special Zones, matters pertaining to National Strategic Special Zones contained in the 2017 Japan Revitalization Strategy (provisional title), and other matters.
Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,
"Today, we heard about the results of the evaluation of projects carried out last fiscal year within each National Strategic Special Zone.
While each region has made certain achievements, a leading example being the ownership of farmlands by companies in Yabu City, there are significant disparities among the regions in the application of regulatory reforms and the content of proposals.
I hope that the regions where little progress has been made on the application of reforms will make use of the merits of being a Special Zone, feeling a sense of urgency that it may otherwise be difficult to retain their Special Zone status.
Special Zone reforms such as the establishment of daycares in urban parks are being implemented across the country. This is a good example of an achievement in a Special Zone that has had an immediate impact on regions outside of the Special Zone as well. It is important that, first and foremost, we quickly build up a track record of success in the Special Zones.
Within the Growth Strategy to be approved next month, we will incorporate bold regulatory reform items that make use of the National Strategic Special Zones, such as a regulatory sandbox system to support trials of autonomous driving and use of drones, and we will work to achieve these reforms as soon as possible.
I would like to ask Minister Kozo Yamamoto and private sector experts, together with relevant ministries and agencies, to accelerate reviews of the exact design of this sandbox system so that we can become the first in the world to realize Society 5.0.
With regard to the fourth round of designations of National Strategic Special Zones by the end of the year, we will proactively consider including areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in the designations. We will support people who have evacuated in the wake of natural disasters and have subsequently returned to their hometowns and are trying to rebuild their lives, as well as encourage further innovation."
Headquarters for the Promotion of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games
Cabinet Secretariat, Friday, May 19, 2017
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the eighth meeting of the Headquarters for the Promotion of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games at the Prime Minister's Office.
At the meeting, the draft report on the state of Government initiatives related to the promotion of preparation and management for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, and partial amendments to the plan to hold a liaison meeting for relevant ministries and agencies related to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games were approved. In addition, there were reports on establishing the Council for the Promotion of Smooth Transportation in relation to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and the state of preparations for Rugby World Cup 2019.
Based on the approvals and reports, the Prime Minister said,
"There will soon only be three years left until the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In order to ensure that the Games are a success, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Organising Committee, the national Government, and each relevant municipality must work as one to advance preparations.
We have just compiled a report for the Diet on the state of Government initiatives carried out in preparation for the Games up until last fiscal year. The Government will continue to accelerate initiatives while thoroughly managing the progress of each measure.
For instance, the impact of transportation for the Games on the lives of the public and economic activities must be kept to a minimum. To that end, yesterday, we established the Council for the Promotion of Smooth Transportation in relation to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, from the perspective of ensuring the appropriate coexistence of transportation related to the Games and regular transportation. This Council will work as one with the business community to implement the relevant measures.
I have recently instructed Minister Marukawa that the national Government immediately start coordination of the issue of the cost allocation related to the hosting of the Games. I would like the relevant parties to coordinate closely with one another on the matter of the total cost of hosting the Games in order to facilitate smooth preparations.
We must also carefully coordinate our efforts with those for the Rugby World Cup, which will be held in 2019, and work together as Team Japan in order to make this the world's best Games.
I ask that all members of the Cabinet exert even greater efforts for the success of the Games."
Letter from the Prime Minister of Japan to Mr. Vicente Gonzalez Loscertales, Secretary General of the BIE
Cabinet Secretariat, Monday, April 24, 2017
April 11, 2017
Mr. Vicente Gonzalez Loscertales,
Bureau International des Expositions
Dear Secretary General,
It is my honor to inform you that, under the Convention Relating to International Exhibitions, the Government of Japan is officially submitting to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) its application to host the International Registered Exhibition in 2025 based on the decision made by the Japanese Cabinet on April 11.
Our exhibition will be held for six months from May 3 to November 3 at Yumeshima Island in Osaka Prefecture in the Kansai region, under the theme "Designing Future Society for Our Lives" in English and "Concevoir la Soci?t? du Futur, Imaginer notre Vie de Demain" in French.
Japan has valuable experience in that we successfully held the first International Exhibition in Asia in the same prefecture, Osaka, in 1970 under the theme "Progress and Harmony for Mankind". Almost half a century has passed since then, and although numerous people around the world have come to enjoy prosperous lives, we continue to face an array of threats including natural disasters, food shortages, diseases and violence, while critical trends such as globalization and progress in information technology have brought with them their own challenges. Meanwhile, there have been major advances in cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and biotechnology, which promise to have far-reaching effects on how we lead our lives. Now is the time to inquire anew how each of us can lead happy and joyful lives and how we can design the corresponding economic and social systems. In Japan, an appreciation of the importance of long-term and sustainable benefits is deeply rooted. Osaka-Kansai region are cradles of the spirit which respects businesses that satisfy both buyers and sellers and which also contribute to society. I am confident that Japan, and especially the Kansai region including Osaka, which have the spirit of altruism, is the ideal setting to discuss what future society might be like if selfish and inward-looking impulses among nations, regions, businesses and individuals could be overcome. Thus Japan is determined to host the International Exhibition in Osaka once again so that, along with our global partners, we can communicate to the world a truly inspiring vision of a future which is in our grasp.
The Osaka-Kansai region has long been an important political, economic and cultural center. It also boasts a varied cultural heritage, including stunning historic buildings, a range of traditional performing arts and a huge variety of Washoku (Japanese-style cuisine), as well as five World Cultural Heritage sites. The region is also home to techno-parks with a large number of international research institutes and companies in the field of health and life sciences, whose endeavors mesh with the theme of our Expo. The venue, Yumeshima, which means "Dream Island", is located about 10 km away from the city center of Osaka, so the existing urban functions also easily accessible. In addition, a scheme to extend the Metro line to the venue and to widen the roads in the vicinity is already at the planning stage. Moreover, accessing Yumeshima by sea can be easily arranged as it is an artificial island.
Last December, the Government of Japan organized an Inter-Ministerial Meeting to supervise the bid for Expo 2025, and we are pleased to report that all branches of the Government are working together to this end. On March 27, the 2025 Japan World Expo Committee was established, mainly by the business community and local governments in the Kansai region, and Mr. Sadayuki Sakakibara, Chairman of Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation), was appointed as its President. Japan is now ready and eager to host this event in 2025.
It is particularly noteworthy that Japan is one of the safest countries in the world, with an extremely low crime rate. In addition, we are always perfectly prepared to ensure security for large-scale international events, as illustrated last year when the G7 Ise-Shima Summit proceeded without incident. We will take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that all visitors can participate in the Expo safely and securely.
Should Japan be elected to host Expo 2025, a juridical body will be established as the vehicle overseeing this venture. As a contracting state of the Convention Relating to International Exhibitions, the Government of Japan will do whatever is required to guarantee the fulfillment of the obligations of that body, in accordance with Article 10, paragraph 2 of the Convention.
May I close by expressing my confidence that the bidding will be implemented smoothly and that the vote will be held in a transparent manner under your esteemed leadership.
Prime Minister of Japan