JapanGov Weekly

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Nagasaki Peace Memorial Ceremony and Other Events

Cabinet Secretariat, Wednesday, August 9, 2017

On August 9, 2017, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the annual Nagasaki Peace Memorial Ceremony held in the Peace Park in Nagasaki City.

Approximately 5,400 people including atomic bomb survivors and bereaved family members, as well as representatives of 58 nations and regions, the European Union, international organizations such as the United Nations, and others attended the ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing, praying for the repose of the souls of the atomic bomb victims and for world peace.

Mr. Tomihisa Taue, Mayor of Nagasaki City, and representatives of bereaved family members, atomic bomb survivors and youth enshrined at the site the list of the names of atomic bomb victims whose passing was confirmed in the past year. Then the representatives of the bereaved family members and the atomic bomb survivors, and elementary, junior high, and high school student representatives offered water. Afterwards, the representatives of the bereaved family members and the atomic bomb survivors, the Prime Minister and other guests offered wreaths. The Bell of Nagasaki was then rung at 11:02 a.m., the time that the atomic bomb was dropped, and all the participants prayed in silence for one minute.

Then, following Mayor Taue’s Peace Declaration, the recital of the Promise for Peace by a representative of the atomic bomb survivors, and a choral song performed by elementary school students, Prime Minister Abe expressed his heartfelt prayers for the repose of the souls of the victims and delivered an address.

After the ceremony, the Prime Minister listened to requests from representatives of atomic bomb survivors at a hotel in Nagasaki City, and then held a press conference.


Meeting of the Reconstruction Promotion Council

Cabinet Secretariat, Tuesday, August 8, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the 19th meeting of the Reconstruction Promotion Council at the Prime Minister’s Office, on August 8, 2017

At the meeting, discussions were held on initiatives to accelerate reconstruction.

Based on the discussions held at the meeting, the Prime Minister stated as follows.

“Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake is the top priority for the Abe Cabinet. More than six years have now passed since the disaster occurred, and we are at a critical juncture to set out a firm path toward the wrap-up of our reconstruction efforts and the full-scale reconstruction of Fukushima.

Along with steadily implementing the reconstruction-related projects, we must also appropriately address new issues such as the mental and physical health care needed for those who have lived for a long time as evacuees.

We will also continue to carry out thorough measures for the acceleration of various programs such as infrastructure development, seamless supports for those affected by the disaster, further reconstruction of residences and towns, and the rebuilding of industries and livelihoods through tourism promotion and works to dispel reputational damage caused by harmful rumors.

With respect to evacuation zones resulting from the nuclear power accident, except the difficult-to-return-zones, almost all the evacuation orders have been lifted, and initiatives for the return of evacuees to their hometowns have just begun.

Based on the Act on Special Measures for the Reconstruction and Revitalization of Fukushima, we are steadily advancing the establishment of reconstruction and revitalization hubs in the difficult-to-return-zones, promotion of the Fukushima Innovation Coast Scheme, and the strengthening of measures such as the Joint Public and Private Sector Team.

There can be no revitalization of Japan without the reconstruction of Tohoku. We will listen to the voices of those affected by the disaster and incorporate their opinions into the reconstruction process. The starting point for the Abe Cabinet is a focus on the frontlines. For this Cabinet, I would like every minister to share the mindset that they are all Ministers for Reconstruction, and overcome vertical segmentation. I would like to instruct them to exert their full efforts so that reconstruction can be completed in the disaster-affected areas at the earliest possible time while paying close attention to the feelings of those affected by the disaster.”


Press Occasion on the Summit Telephone Talk with President Trump of the United States

Cabinet Secretariat, Tuesday, August 15, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

On August 15, 2017, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a press occasion at the Prime Minister's Office.

In regard to his summit telephone talk with the Honorable Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America, the Prime Minister said,

“I have just held a summit meeting with President Trump over the telephone, during which we had a frank exchange of views on the current situation in North Korea. North Korea’s warning that it will launch ballistic missiles at Guam is increasing the tensions in the region to an unprecedented degree. Under such circumstances, I highly value the commitment of President Trump to the security of the U.S. allies. We shared the recognition that it is of the utmost importance that, while maintaining close coordination between Japan and the United States, and among Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea,we ensure that North Korea does not conduct any missile launches, in cooperation with the international community, including China and Russia. At the same time, we will be prepared for any situation, and, under the robust Japan-US Alliance, we will maintain an elevated vigilance and surveillance structure and a missile defense posture, and do everything we can to protect the safety of the people.”


Signing of Record of Discussions on Technical Cooperation Project with Macedonia: Supporting capacity building of ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction

JICA, Monday, August 14, 2017

On August 10, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a Record of Discussions with the Government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in Skopje, the capital city, for the Project on Capacity Building for Ecosystem Based Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR) through Sustainable Forest Management in Macedonia, a technical cooperation project.

In cooperation with the Crisis Management Center and the Public Enterprise Macedonian Forests and with the aim of mitigating the risk of disasters such as flooding, landslides, soil erosion and forest fires in the country from a long-term perspective, the project will carry out activities related to disaster model development of ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR).

Forest ecosystems are known to have various functions, including preventing soil erosion and recharging water resources, but due to frequent forest fires and destruction caused by activities such as illegal logging, the functions of forests in Macedonia are deteriorating. Approximately 80 percent of the country’s land is in mountainous and hilly regions. Soil erosion, landslides, flooding, flash floods and the like caused by forest reduction are seriously affecting residential areas, transportation infrastructure, farmland and more.

From 2011 to 2014, JICA conducted the Project on Development of Integrated System for Prevention and Early Warning of Forest Fires to protect the forest ecosystem threatened by the frequent forest fires. Although the Macedonian Forest Fire Information System (MKFFIS) established in that project has helped prevent forest fires and reduce their impact, the country’s forests continue to drop in quality and soundness, as well as in size, due to inadequate forest restoration after forest fires, illegal logging and other such issues.

In recent years, floods have increased in frequency and size, bringing greater damage, including a loss of lives, and Eco-DRR expertise in areas such as suitable forest planning and management, afforestation and tree planting technology is needed. Thus, the Government of Macedonia requested assistance from the Government of Japan.

Towards model development of Eco-DRR, the project will develop a system with an expanded MKFFIS capable of responding to damage from floods and other such disasters, introduce and enhance a system for forest planning and management, and strengthen the afforestation and nursery techniques for enhanced forest functions, particularly for mitigating flood and landslide damage.


Signing of Grant Agreement with Viet Nam: Mitigating flood disaster risk by providing forecast/warning systems and other equipment using Japanese technology

JICA, Thursday, August 10, 2017

On August 10, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a grant agreement with the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam in Hanoi to provide grant aid of up to 1.844 billion yen for the Project for Emergency Reservoir Operation and Effective Flood Management Using Water related Disaster Management Information System.

The project will construct hydrological observation facilities to monitor the water level of rivers and dams and the rainfall in the basin of the Huong River, which flows through Central Vietnam, and will also construct a water-related disaster management information system to mitigate flood disasters in the general Huong River Basin.

The coastal area of Central Viet Nam is often struck by typhoons, resulting in storm and landslide disasters each year. Disaster risk reduction is an important challenge from the perspective of preventing human casualties and economic loss. In particular, a heavy rainy region where flood disaster occurs frequently is the Huong River Basin of Thua Thien Hue Province, due to inappropriate water releases from dams during torrential rains. Effective operation of three dams in the basin (Bien Dien, Huong Dien and Ta Trach Dams) and precise river management during heavy rains are priorities as seen by the prime minister directive issued in 2013 for proper dam management and stronger safety measures.

The project will increase the number of hydrological observation points which monitor the water level of rivers and river flow volume in the Huong River Basin and shorten the intervals at which rainfall and water level information is disseminated from 60 to 10 minutes, thereby contributing to an improved capacity to manage dams and rivers, leading to the prevention and mitigation of water-related disasters.


JPO Concludes an Agreement with INPI to Expand Cooperation in the Field of Industrial Property

METI, Wednesday, August 02, 2017

On August 1, 2017, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the National Institute of Industrial Property of Brazil (INPI) agreed on a memorandum of cooperation to expand JPO-INPI cooperation in the field of industrial property. The JPO will continue to further make efforts, in cooperation with the INPI, to establish the environment in which Japanese companies can obtain IP rights smoothly and the IP rights are protected properly in Brazil.
1. Background
As Brazil boasts the largest economic scale and population in South America, global society recognizes the country as one of the promising investment targets among emerging economies, or BRICs, considered to have high economic growth potential. Thus, many Japanese companies have been pursing business in the country, mainly in the automobile and other manufacturing industries. Along with this business development, a growing number of patent applications have been filed from Japan with INPI, accounting for approximately a three-fold increase over this decade. However, concerning the examination period, INPI requires over 10 years on average from receiving an application from applicants to sending a notice of the first examination results to them.

In April 2010, the JPO and INPI concluded a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) in the field of industrial property. Since then, the JPO has been accepting trainees from INPI and other entities in the field of industrial property, and both sides have also been advancing cooperation by a variety of means, including the launch of a JPO-INPI examiners’ exchange in 2012. Following this, in April 2017, the JPO commenced a Patent Prosecution Highway Program (PPH) with INPI, aiming to encourage Japanese companies to acquire patent rights in an accelerated manner in Brazil.*

Moreover, INPI has been advancing efforts for enhancing its organization system, e.g., formulating an Action Plan for 2017, and increased the number of patent and trademark examiners by 210 over this year.

In this situation, aiming to further expand JPO-INPI cooperation, on August 1, 2017, Ms. Naoko Munakata, Commissioner of the JPO, and Mr. Luiz Otavio Pimentel, President of INPI, signed a memorandum of cooperation on expanded cooperation in substantive examination practices, including the PPH program and examiner exchange program.

*Note: Press release: Commencement of the Patent Prosecution Highway Program between Japan and Brazil/Chile(In Japanese)

2. Outline of MOC with INPI
Through the memorandum, the JPO and INPI confirmed that they will cooperate in the following efforts. This memorandum is expected to encourage Japanese companies to further facilitate their global business development through Japan’s support in further developing the environment in Brazil for protecting the intellectual property rights of Japanese companies.

Exchanging information on IP systems and practices at the Offices, such as IP strategy, IP international treaties, legislation, regulations, guidelines and manuals, as well as on statistical data on IP administration;
Cooperation on substantive examinations including the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) and the Examiner Exchange Program (enhanced initiative);
Cooperation in the field of Information Technology;
Cooperation in the field of human resources development for the officials of the Offices, including training;
Sharing experiences and knowledge of the Offices regarding the following:
Overall management of the Offices including managing human resources, finances and examination quality; and
Activities to promote public awareness, including providing educational materials and IP information to the public;
Exchanging IP data between the Offices such as gazettes;
Cooperation for the strengthening of IP protection in collaboration with the relevant authorities (new initiative); and
Sharing user evaluations on the IP Rights systems and practices of the Offices (new initiative).

3. Future actions
Through advancing enhanced cooperation with INPI based on the memorandum, the JPO will continue to further make efforts to establish the environment in which Japanese companies can obtain IP rights smoothly and the IP rights are protected properly in Brazil.