/Premier Desk) Japan: Japan in Asia
Address by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda at APCAC 2012 U.S.-Asia Business Summit
Friday, March 2, 2012
H.E. John V. Roos, Ambassador of the U.S. to Japan,
H.E. Dang Huy Dong, Vice Minister of Planning and Investment of Vietnam,
Mr. Michael Alfant, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ),
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to welcome to Japan business leaders from the United States who are engaged in activities in the Asia-Pacific region.
Almost one year on from the Great East Japan Earthquake, I believe that the holding of this Business Summit here in Japan will provide a valuable opportunity for you to experience for yourselves the vitality of the rebirth of Japan through the process of reconstruction.
I am grateful to the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and all persons concerned for providing me with this chance to address you today.
At the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the tremendous support and assistance provided from both the public and private sectors in the United States reaffirmed for the people of Japan the importance of the Japan-U.S. Alliance. I would like to reiterate my deep appreciation for all the assistance that was so graciously provided.
Using the time allotted to me, I would like to say a few words about the current status of the post-disaster Japanese economy and our relations with the Asia-Pacific region.
1. Recovery and Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Revitalization of the Japanese Economy
The first thing to mention is that one year on from the earthquake and tsunami disaster, reconstruction of the disaster-affected regions is making steady progress. The main lifeline services have almost entirely been restored and as a result of the full resumption of the supply chain, there are no significant obstacles to doing business in Japan.
Early last month the Reconstruction Agency was established as a Government agency. In addition, a system of Special Zones for Reconstruction has been established targeting at 227 municipalities in 11 prefectures in Japan, which provide bold taxation and regulatory special measures, exempting companies that start up business in these zones from paying corporation tax for a period of five years.
Furthermore, in addition to special zones in the disaster-affected regions, we have newly established a system of “Comprehensive Special Zones” as a breakthrough measure to realize the New Growth Strategy, and at the end of last year a total of seven regions were designated as “Comprehensive Special Zones for International Strategy. Among these Tokyo is designated as a “Special Zone for Asian Headquarters.” We will continue to advance strategic urban planning measures that will induce foreign companies to locate in Japan.
The Japanese economy is projected to grow 1.7% in 2012. Japan is leveraging reconstruction efforts to come back with strength and vitality. Efforts are being made to develop environments that will nurture seeds for new industries, through the promotion of green innovation and life innovation. Through such efforts we aim to follow a growth trajectory by harnessing Asian-centered global vitality. We are open to and welcome investment from foreign companies for such endeavors.
2. Promotion of Economic Partnership in the Asia-Pacific Region
As you are all aware, the Asia-Pacific region is the center of global growth. It is private companies such as those you represent here that have enabled the realization of sustainable economic growth in the region and this is something I applaud. I hope that efforts will continue to ensure that the growth trajectory for the Asia-Pacific is one that is both sustainable and balanced.
The Japan-U.S. Alliance is a public goods that contributes to the stability and prosperity not only of this region, but the entire world. Based on the firm foundation of the Japan-U.S. Alliance, Japan will continue to utilize the various regional frameworks for cooperation in which a wide range of countries and regions participate, and build multi-layered cooperative relations in this region.
In economic aspects in particular, toward the realization of further growth in the region and the formation of a “Free Trade Area in the Asia-Pacific” (FTAAP), Japan will cooperate closely with the United States and play a leading role in the formulation of rules.
Japan is currently engaged in consultations with the United States and other countries towards participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and I hope for the understanding and cooperation of the public and private sectors of the United States for these consultations.
Hand in hand with the United States, we will continue to endeavor to be a cornerstone of an open and free Asia-Pacific region.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to the United States. Just like the cherry blossoms that so beautifully adorn the capital cities of our two nations, I would like to give further color and depth to the Japan-U.S. relations toward the future.
In this commemorative year I would like to make a visit to the United States at a mutually convenient time, and work with President Obama to make further efforts to strengthen our invaluable bilateral ties.
Thank you for your attention