Tag Archives: Japan

Japan Emperor reign anniversary

The House of Representatives issued congratulations to Emperor Akihito (85) on his 30-year reign, ahead of his abdication at the end of April, in the first such message dedicated to a particular Imperial anniversary.

“We, the Japanese people, respectfully acknowledge His Majesty the Emperor’s achievements over the past 30 years under his era of Heisei, during which he has always stood by the people and prayed for their peace,” says the message.

Among political parties, the Japanese Communist Party, which has traditionally maintained a distance from the Imperial system, boycotted the imitative, explaining that they do not agree with the “unprecedented” message that “excessively praises” the Emperor in light of the principle of popular sovereignty.

The Heisei Era started with the Emperor’s enthronement in 1989 and will end when the 85-year-old steps down on April 30 as the first Japanese monarch to do so in about 200 years. His eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito (59), will take over the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1.

Japan considers visa-free for Russians

Moscow has welcomed the deliberations in Tokyo for ending the visa system for Russians travelling to Japan, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Such discussions are undoubtedly welcomed and this fits into the general course towards further developing [bilateral] relations,” the Kremlin spokesman said.

Although the visa issue was not discussed at the latest talks between President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the spokesman added.

The Japanese newspaper Sankei earlier reported that Tokyo was looking into cancelling short-term entry visas for Russian citizens, which means that they would be able to enter Japan visa-free for 90 days, if they register data of their passports in any Japanese consulate in advance, the newspaper writes.
Earlier Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said there can be a pilot visa-free prjoect between  Sakhalin and Hokkaido.

The visa  issue might be discussed between the Russian and Japanese foreign ministers, at during Munich Security Conference set for February 16, the newspaper writes.

Tourism to Japan is booming: last year 31 travelers enjoyed visit to the Land of the Rising Sun.

 

EU-Japan ‘strategic partners’ era

From December 2018 to February 2019 EU-Japan relations are set to receive a major lift with the signing of a new trade agreement and a strategic partnership.

Although EU and Japan already enjoy good relations, they have agreed to upgrade their partnership against a background of increasing international tensions and protectionism.

The proposed trade agreement will make it easier for European companies to export to Japan, while a planned strategic partnership will boost cooperation on common challenges such as security and the environment.

 

The European Parliament endorsed both proposals of the Commission during the December plenary. The Council will also have to approve both agreements before they can enter into force.

EU companies export more than €58 billion worth of goods and €28 billion in services to Japan a year, but the trade agreement will boost this even further by removing remaining barriers to trade. This includes eliminating 90% of tariffs on more than 90% of the EU’s exports to Japan. This is expected to save EU exporters about €1 billion in customs duties a year. In addition, Japan will recognise the special status of more than 200 European agricultural products from specific regions, known as Geographical Indications. Measures will also be taken to lower non-tariff barriers, for example by relying on international standards rather than specific Japanese requirements.

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement sends a timely signal in support of open, fair, values- and rules-based trade at a time of increasing protectionism and an erratic trade policy by US President Donald Trump. This agreement also represents an opportunity for the European Union (EU) in the Asia-Pacific, especially since the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) regional free trade agreement, and helps promote EU values and high standards in the region.”  MEP Pedro SILVA PEREIRA a Portuguese member of the S&D group, said the agreement was being concluded at an important time:

“This agreement will foster not only closer bilateral economic ties, but also concrete cooperation on sustainable development like the fight against climate change. The agreement can, in addition, enhance coordination on multilateral issues with Japan and help shape rules for the global economy in line with our high standards and shared values of respect for human rights, democracy and the rules of law” the MEP added.

MEPs said they saw the agreements as possible models for cooperation with other countries.

It is the first EU trade agreement with a commitment to the implementation of the Paris Agreement to combat climate change and with dedicated chapters on corporate governance and small and medium-sized enterprises. The agreement also upholds the EU’s high standards on environmental protection, consumer protection, food safety and labour rights, protects public services and respects the right to regulate
Silva Perreira said.

The two agreements have been possible because the EU and Japan are like-minded partners with shared values of democracy and a common vision for global trade and cooperation… high standards and the readiness to address current global challenges should be the cornerstone of future cooperation agreements” MEP Alojz
Peterle said.

Japanese support graduate return of Kuril Islands

The majority of Japanese believe that the country’s government in negotiations with Russia should focus on the return of the two southern islands of the Kuril archipelago in the first place, and decide the fate of the two remaining ones in the course of further consultations. The public opinion was published on December 16, quoting data from a survey conducted by the Japanese agency Kyodo. (Image: Kuril from space).

Thus, according to the survey, 53.2% of respondents agreed that the Japanese government in negotiations with the Russian Federation should focus on “the return of two islands, and continue negotiations on the remaining two islands.” At the same time, 28.6% of respondents stressed that it is necessary to seek the return of all four islands at once.

The 1956 declaration said that the peace treaty between Russia and Japan could be concluded after the delivery of Khabomai and Shikotan islands to Japan. Japan had refused to sign the declaration because of the wish to receive more than just two islands.

In 2017, the Russian government established an advanced economic development zone on Shikotan Island and assigned Shikotan to the territory of special economic cooperation between Russia and Japan.

Extremist guru adepts executed in Japan

Shoko Asahara, founder of the doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo and mastermind behind the deadly 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system — and a number of other horrific crimes in the 1980s and ’90s — was executed on Friday, July 5, according to Japanese official sources.

The crimes he was convicted of also include the murders of lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, his wife and their 1-year-old son in November 1989 and another sarin gas attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, in June 1994. That attack killed eight and left about 600 injured.

The doomsday cult successfully recruited a number of educated members, including medics and scientists, some of whom took part in the crimes — a fact that particularly shocked the Japanese public, relating good mores with education.

According to government sources, six other condemned Aum members — Tomomasa Nakagawa, 55, Kiyohide Hayakawa, 68, Yoshihiro Inoue, 48, Masami Tsuchiya, 53, and Seiichi Endo, 58, and Tomomitsu Niimi, 54, — were also executed.

Tokyo Sarin

Lavrov: principle of reciprocity in effect

The UK deliberately seeks to undermine relations with Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said following talks with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono.

“There is no doubt that the current British authorities have deliberately taken a course aimed at undermining bilateral relations,” Lavrov said.

“If they continue to pursue this course and take new actions against Russia… the principle of reciprocity is still in effect,” the minister continued.

Lavrov underlined that Moscow insisted “on cooperation in full accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention.” According to Lavrov, the questions Russia has “are totally professional, clear and specific, there is nothing irrelevant about them, which can’t be said about the British government’s position.”

 

 

EU one step further in trade with Japan

Following the agreement reached today between the chief negotiators and endorsed by European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan,  the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe issued a joint statement  welcoming the finalisation of the negotiations of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and Japan.

“The finalisation of the negotiations on the EU-Japan EPA demonstrates the powerful political will of Japan and the EU to continue to keep the flag of free trade waving high, and sends a strong message to the world.  Beyond its considerable economic value, this Agreement is also of strategic importance.  It sends a clear signal to the world that the EU and Japan are committed to keeping the world economy working on the basis of free, open and fair markets with clear and transparent rules fully respecting and enhancing our values, fighting the temptation of protectionism.”

“The EU-Japan EPA is one of the largest and most comprehensive economic agreements that either the EU or Japan have concluded so far. This EPA will create a huge economic zone with 600 million people and approximately 30 percent of the world GDP, and it will open up tremendous trade and investment opportunities and will contribute to strengthening our economies and societies. It will also strengthen economic cooperation between Japan and the EU and reinforce our competitiveness as mature yet innovative economies.”

“We are confident that, once in place, this Agreement will deliver sustainable and inclusive economic growth and spur job creation, while at the same time confirming our commitment to the highest level of labour, safety, environmental and consumer protection standards and fully safeguarding public services.”

The EPA reinforces the EU and Japan’s actions on sustainable development and climate change, notably via a strong and unambiguous commitment to working together to implement the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement.

“With the finalisation of the negotiations, the path is now clear to complete the internal procedures leading to the signature, ratification and full implementation of the Agreement.”

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