Tag Archives: APEC

Bilateral ties strained between Japan and South Korea and no summit likely at APEC meeting

It is unlikely that Japan and South Korea will hold a bilateral summit on the sidelines of the summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vladivostok this weekend.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak will be among the leaders of the 21 APEC leaders to attend the annual summit.

A South Korean foreign ministry spokesman told reporters on Tuesday that neither side has proposed holding a bilateral summit.

He also said no meeting is scheduled either between Japan’s Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba and South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Kim Sung-hwan. Both will attend the APEC ministerial meeting opening on Wednesday.

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APEC: President Obama And Prime Minister Noda Of Japan

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I just want to welcome Prime Minister Noda to Hawaii, to the United States, for this APEC meeting. I had the opportunity to have my first extensive discussions with the Prime Minister recently, and I have been extremely impressed already with the boldness of his vision. And we confirmed, once again, the importance for both of our countries — the alliance between the United States and Japan is the cornerstone of our relationship but also for security in the Asia-Pacific region for a very long time and I’m confident that working together we can continue to build on that relationship in the areas of commerce, the areas of security, in not only the Asia-Pacific region but around the world.

And Prime Minister Noda, welcome to Honolulu, where I’m sure that we’ll have another round of productive discussions. And I want to thank you and the people of Japan for your friendship. We continue also, by the way, to be concerned about the rebuilding process in the wake of the terrible earthquake and tsunami. And I want to assure you that the American people continue to stand beside you and ready to help in any way they can.

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Japan is test case for Pac Rim free trade zone

As Asia-Pacific leaders committed themselves to achieving a Pacific-wide free trade zone at an annual summit Sunday, host Japan may prove a key test case for how realistic that vision is.

Acknowledging that Japan’s economic power is declining, Prime Minister Naoto Kan declared his country must open up its markets and embrace free trade — or risk getting left further behind other regional rivals.

"Japan is determined to reopen itself," Kan said at a press conference that wound up the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, alluding to the historic role that Yokohama, which hosted the summit, played more than 150 years ago as one of the first Japanese ports to open up to the West.

That bold declaration represents a change for Japan, which for decades had been ruled by conservative administrations that were reluctant to engage in trade liberalization and were closely tied with farmers who fiercely oppose lowering protective tariffs. Imported rice, for example, is subject to a 778 percent tariff.

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Japan’s Farmers Opposed to Free-trade Talks

Atsushi Kono considers it the gravest threat to his family’s farm in a century of rice-growing: a free-trade initiative that could dismantle Japan’s sky-high protective farming tariffs, finally opening up the country to cheap, foreign produce.

In a move pitting Japanese farmers against the nation’s export industries, Prime Minister Naoto Kan is pushing to join negotiations for an American-backed free-trade zone called the Trans-Pacific Partnership that would span the Pacific Rim.

The new zone would give Japanese exporters of cars, televisions and other manufactured goods greater access to the United States and other markets. But a trade agreement could dismantle the generous protections that have sustained Japanese farms for years — most notably, Japan’s 777.7 percent tariff on imported rice.

Read the rest of the story:Japan’s Farmers Oppose Pacific Free-trade Talks.