JapanGov Weekly

Monday, July 10, 2017

Visit to Fukushima Prefecture

Cabinet Secretariat, Saturday, July 01, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Fukushima Prefecture.

After visiting Tonya no Sato, the newly opened Yamakiya area reconstruction hub business center in Kawamata Town, Date District, Fukushima Prefecture, the Prime Minister visited a special nursing home for the elderly in Iitate Village, Soma District.

After that, the Prime Minister visited a hand-made udon (wheat noodles) restaurant in Iitate Village that reopened, and then visited a café in Kawauchi Village, Futaba District.

In his congratulatory address at Tonya no Sato, the Prime Minister said,

“Today, Tonya no Sato has opened in the reconstruction hub of the Yamakiya area. I would like to offer my sincere congratulations and express my heartfelt respect for the tireless efforts of all those involved.

Six years and three months have now passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear accident. At the end of March, the evacuation orders were lifted in Yamakiya as well. Reconstruction is moving forward step by step.

At Tonya no Sato, there is a well-known shop specializing in shamo chicken products, a specialty of Kawamata, and a supermarket stocked with fresh foods and daily goods. There is also a space that can be used for various types of events.

I have been told that the origin of the place name Tonya (which means “wholesaler” in Japanese) is that this was a key transport area on an old provincial border, and many people and things gathered here.

Even if not all their neighbors have returned since evacuating, those who once lived in the area will see friends if they come here. And as Yamakiya becomes animated, many more of their friends will return. I hope that people will gather at Tonya no Sato, just as its name implies, and it will become a driving force for reconstruction.

We will strongly accelerate reconstruction with all of you. I would like to end my congratulatory remarks by pledging this.”

After the visit, the Prime Minister said,

“I believe that the hope of all the people in the disaster-affected areas is that results are thoroughly produced, toward achieving reconstruction as soon as possible. Since my administration retook the reins of government, we have broken through vertical segmentation and thoroughly focused on the frontlines.

This is my 16th visit to Fukushima. The Government has listened to the views of the people in the affected areas and responded to each of their needs.

A new business center has opened today in the Yamakiya area in Kawamata Town. I have heard from the local people that this will make shopping much more convenient, and that they would like to further reconstruction with the new center serving as a hub.

At the special nursing home for the elderly in Iitate Village, I heard that although there have been great efforts in the area there is also a lack of staff, and if they had more staff they could have more people enter the facility.

We will raise the amount of preparation fund for employment to make it easier to find and perform nursing care work in this area. Further, the Government will provide thorough support to nursing care facilities throughout Japan that are cooperating by dispatching staff.

In Iitate Village, I was told that an udon restaurant, whose owner returned home very quickly, is extremely busy.

And here in Kawauchi Village, I heard that a person who started a factory to manufacture phosphorescent tiles also opened a Thai café, and that the menu there, using local vegetables, is very popular.

Above all, I felt that the passion of the local people to somehow improve their regions and hometowns is the energy that propels the reconstruction. The Government will accelerate the reconstruction while thoroughly supporting all of these local people.

While continuing to visit the disaster-affected areas, I will listen to everyone’s voices and further advance reconstruction. I am resolved that by doing so, we will live up to the expectations of the people in the affected areas.

Moreover, in regard to all of the people of Japan, we will thoroughly grow the economy even further. And by having the benefits of that growth reach all of the people, we will live up to the people’s expectations and requests.”


Japan-U.S. Summit Telephone Talk

Foreign Affairs, Monday, July 03, 2017

On June 3, commencing at around 9 a.m. for approximately 35 minutes, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, held a telephone talk with the Honorable Donald Trump, President of the United States of America. The overview of the telephone talk is as follows.

1. In advance of the G20 Hamburg Summit, Prime Minister Abe and President Trump exchanged views and undertook policy coordination regarding the situation in North Korea.

2. The two leaders confirmed that they will promote close Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.- Republic of Korea (ROK) cooperation in order to lead the international community to strengthen pressure on North Korea, and that they will continue to urge China to play a greater role.

3. The two leaders confirmed that they will discuss the state of the coordination between Japan, the U.S. and the ROK based on today’s discussions during a Japan-U.S.-ROK Summit Meeting that will be held on the occasion of the G20 Hamburg Summit.


Meeting amongst Main Ministers on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement

Cabinet Secretariat, Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the 3rd Meeting amongst Main Ministers on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), at the Prime Minister's Office.
During the meeting, a briefing was given on the Japan-EU EPA negotiations.
Based on the briefing, the Prime Minister said,

“Negotiations on the Japan-EU EPA were conducted at the ministerial level over the weekend. Working as one, the Government held discussions towards concluding an agreement on the fundamental elements of the EPA. While meaningful progress was made during the negotiations, there still remain important issues that need to be addressed by both parties.

Taking this into consideration, I instructed Minister Kishida, who is in charge of the overall coordination of the negotiations, to depart from Japan this evening and engage in negotiations in Brussels.

It is extremely important to realize an agreement on the fundamental elements of the Japan-EU EPA as early as possible, and for Japan and the EU to raise the flag of free trade, amidst the current global trend towards protectionism.

The EU comprises a huge market, with 30% of global trade and a population of 500 million, which is four times that of Japan. We must protect areas that should be protected, such as agriculture and agricultural products, and, with regard to the EU market, we must be assertive in areas where we should be assertive. Moreover, the Japan-EU EPA is also significant in terms of advancing Japan’s growth strategy.

I would like the relevant ministers to work together closely and to engage in the negotiations with their utmost efforts, right until the very end, in order to achieve the best results for Japan’s national interests.”


Press Occasion on North Korea’s Missile Launch

Cabinet Secretariat, Tuesday, July 04, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

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,

"North Korea has conducted yet another missile launch in disregard of repeated warnings from the international community. This missile launch clearly demonstrates the further elevation of the level of threat.

Yesterday I held a Japan-U.S. summit telephone talk with President Trump and we confirmed the strong cooperation between Japan and the United States on this matter. Tomorrow I will be departing for the G20 Hamburg Summit in Germany, where I will attend a Japan-U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) summit meeting as well. President Trump and President Moon Jae-in and I will have a shared recognition of the situation, and we will strengthen international pressure on North Korea based on the strong solidarity of Japan, the United States and the ROK.

World leaders will be gathering in Hamburg for the G20 Summit. I will use this opportunity to advocate strongly for international cooperation in response to North Korea. I also intend to call on President Xi Jinping of China and President Putin of Russia to make a more constructive response. Based on the strong Japan-U.S. Alliance we will continue to make every effort to secure the safety of our people, while maintaining a high level of vigilance."


Press Occasion on the Visit to Europe and the G20 Hamburg Summit

Cabinet Secretariat, Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a press occasion at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport).

With regard to his visit to Europe and attendance at the G20 Hamburg Summit, the Prime Minister said,

“Firstly, the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is an important pillar of Abenomics. It also has great significance for promoting global free trade.

I am sure that Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida is engaged in the negotiations in full force at this moment. We will press forward assertively in areas where we should, while protecting what must be protected, in order to reach an agreement on the EPA’s fundamental elements on this occasion.

Further, using the opportunity of the G20 Summit, I will advocate strongly to world leaders including President Trump, President Xi Jinping, President Putin, and President Moon Jae-in on the necessity for close cooperation among the international community to respond against North Korea, which has demonstrated an increasing threat with its launch of a missile yesterday.”

“Even a short period of stagnation is unacceptable in national politics. In the face of mounting issues both domestically and internationally, we will further focus our energies, reflect on what should be reflected on, and humbly advance politics, while also boldly carrying out the reforms that need to be made.

Reminding ourselves of our original intentions when my administration retook the reins of government, we will strive to regain the trust of the people by delivering results one by one, with an increased sense of urgency.”


Signing of Grant Agreement with Kenya: Contributing to a mitigation in traffic congestion through road improvements in central Nairobi

JICA, Wednesday, July 05, 2017

On July 4, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a grant agreement with the Government of the Republic of Kenya in Nairobi to provide grant aid of up to 2.68 billion yen for the Project for Dualling of Nairobi-Dagoretti Corner Road C60/C61 (Phase 2).

The project will widen Ngong Road, which connects the western and central parts of Nairobi, the capital city, and provide traffic signals, streetlights and other improvements to mitigate traffic congestion on the road, contributing to a smoother flow of goods in Nairobi.

The population of Nairobi grew from 2.14 million people in 1999 to 4.23 in 2015, approximately doubling in a period of 16 years, and the volume of traffic has rapidly grown as the number of registered vehicles has risen each year. Ngong Road, which is the project target, is an arterial road in Nairobi heavily used by commuters during the morning and evening peak hours. With only one lane in each direction, the current road does not have adequate capacity, and some road intervals have an average travel speed of less than 10 kilometers per hour.

The project will increase the traffic volume (annual average of vehicles per day) by 1.3 times per lane on the target interval, which is projected to shorten the travel time from the current 40 minutes to under seven. Other expected effects of this project include reducing the time and financial burden (additional fares on transit buses during traffic congestion) on area residents commuting to the central area, and reducing the volume of emission gases and noise as a result of mitigated traffic congestion.

JICA supported conversion of the road into four lanes with a road divider over an interval on the road approximately 2.6 kilometers long in the Project for Dualling of Nairobi-Dagoretti Corner Road C60/C61 (grant agreement signed in June 2012), and this project will further alleviate traffic congestion in central Nairobi.