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Ladies and Gentlemen...
Good afternoon. I welcome the opportunity to participate in today's
My intention today is to outline for you the key themes on regional
economic integration that Australia has been focusing on this year in the
APEC context. At the outset, I would note that Australia has been working
very closely with Japan on this and other APEC issues during Japan's host
year. In other words we are deploying our close bilateral relationship
with Japan to help drive APEC forward. Before I get into the detail on
APEC and regional economic integration however, I would like to first take
the opportunity to make a few general comments about the broader Australia-
Japan bilateral relationship.
The Australia-Japan relationship is a strategic friendship between like-
minded countries. It is also a very close relationship. Since late 2007,
when the Labor government took office in Australia, there have been in the
order of thirty Cabinet Minister level visits between Australia and Japan.
Ours is also a comprehensive relationship. It is based on shared values
and beneficial mutual interests, and this is often found reflected in a
strong commitment by both countries to bilateral cooperation on a range of
bilateral, regional and global issues.
The Australia-Japan relationship has expanded significantly over recent
years, moving beyond the traditional focus on trade and economic issues,
to encompass also a strengthened strategic and security relationship.
Under the framework of the Australia-Japan Joint Declaration on Security
Cooperation, signed by our prime ministers in 2007, Australia and Japan
have been working to expand cooperation across in areas such as counter-
terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping,
maritime security, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and joint
defence exercises and training.
In May this year, Australia and Japan signed an Acquisition and Cross-
Servicing Agreement that will make it easier for on-the-ground cooperation
between the Japan Self Defence forces and the Australian Defence forces on
such activities as disaster relief. Australia is only the second country,
after the United States, to sign this type of virtually treaty-level
agreement with Japan. Australia and Japan are also negotiating an
Information Sharing Agreement, which will be essential to deepening our
security cooperation further. Australia and Japan are also working with
the United States, with which both our countries have alliances, to
enhance trilateral cooperation on regional and global security issues.
It is in Australia and Japan's best interests to continue working together
in these ways. Our cooperation in support of regional security helps
create the stable conditions that underpin and are essential for the free
and open trade and investment and further economic integration in the Asia-
Pacific that we are both seeking.
26 2011年02月20日 14:12 バネッサ・Kuno Trade and economic relations
continue to be crucially important to both countries and it is for this
reason that the Australian and Japanese governments committed to renewing
the bilateral trade and economic framework, namely through a free trade
agreement, which we started negotiating in 2007.
It's no secret that agriculture has been the most difficult part of our
bilateral FTA negotiations. Australia cannot accept an FTA that simply
excludes agriculture, but both governments remain committed to
constructively addressing this issue. Australia is looking to Japan to
respond to the flexibility that we have already shown in the negotiations
and I should stress that Australia fully recognises that trade
liberalisation under an FTA will need a phase-in period for implementation
in some cases, to support Japan's own efforts to improve efficiency in the
domestic agriculture sector.
Japan's view of a bilateral FTA with Australia as "a strategic FTA" is
entirely accurate. Australia is Japan's most important supplier of energy
resources, a key supplier of minerals, and also one of Japan's top three
suppliers of imported food. This means Japan's imports from Australia
support Japanese business, Japanese homes and Japanese people, every day
of the year, in many different ways. Closer economic integration of our
two economies through an FTA will be immensely beneficial for both
More broadly, Australia and Japan are both important trading nations and
both committed to advancing the rules-based international trade framework.
Australia and Japan share the view that trade is a stimulus to growth, it
helps create jobs and lifts incomes. Trade also provides consumers with a
greater choice of products at competitive prices.
Torch of sumo tradition flickers after match-fixing
The Yomiuri Shimbun
Can the Japan Sumo Association continue to bear the responsibility of carrying on sumo as the "national sport"? The JSA faces the crisis of its existence being called into question as it has been forced to cancel a forthcoming sumo tournament.
Shaken by a match-fixing scandal, the JSA decided Sunday to cancel the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament scheduled to start on March 13 at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.
It is the first cancellation of a grand tournament in 65 years since the 1946 summer grand tournament was canceled due to a delay in repair work on the previous Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo arena amid the postwar chaos. This is the first time for a grand tourney to be canceled due to a scandal, leaving a hard-to-erase blemish on the long history of sumo.
As reasons for the cancellation, the JSA said, among other things, it would otherwise be impossible to obtain the understanding of fans and it would take time to conduct investigations of the 14 current and former sumo wrestlers allegedly involved in the scandal. JSA Chairman Hanaregoma told a news conference, "We cannot show sumo matches on the dohyo ring until we can eliminate the pus [from the sport]."
The top priority of the JSA should be to thoroughly probe the match-fixing scandal and severely punish all found to be involved. If this is taken into consideration, the JSA's cancellation of the spring grand tournament was the right decision.
Match-fixing flatly contradicts any claim that sumo is a real fighting sport. It also represents a betrayal of the fans, who expect to see hard-fought bouts.
Many fans in Osaka must feel regret over the cancellation of the spring tournament, which is the only basho held in the city each year.
But if the tournament were to be held under the present circumstances, suspicious eyes would be cast even over wrestlers not involved in the match-fixing scandal. If sumo becomes suspect, it does not deserve the claim of being the national sport.
A seven-member special investigation panel, consisting of four lawyers and three other outsiders, is tasked with uncovering the whole truth behind the scandal. The panel has conducted a questionnaire survey of all wrestlers and other JSA members concerning their involvement in the match-fixing scandal. But we think it is impossible to grasp the whole picture with such a pro forma probe alone.
It is necessary to make in-depth investigations by going as far as interrogating the suspected wrestlers after analyzing past bouts suspected to have been fixed.
JSA claim falls flat
The JSA had persistently asserted, "There is no match-fixing whatsoever." The association has established punitive steps for intentionally spiritless bouts and issued warnings to wrestlers every time their bouts were found to lack a fighting spirit. But it had never probed whether they fixed matches.
As some of the 14 current and former wrestlers suspected to have been involved in the scandal admitted the alleged match-fixing, the JSA's assumption of "no match-fixing whatsoever" has crumbled. The association must clearly mention in its punitive provisions that wrestlers found to be involved in match-fixing will be expelled from the sumo world.
The JSA is a public-interest corporation entitled to preferential tax treatment. The association must remember it has the responsibility of working out measures that can convince the public that the sport is clean. (From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 7, 2011)(Feb. 8, 2011)
Japan-U.S. foreign ministerial meeting a chance to rebuild bilateral alliance
Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton agreed in their recent talks in Washington to set new common strategic goals, which will serve as guidelines for bilateral security cooperation. They also agreed on the need to step up bilateral consultations aimed at strengthening ties in case of any emergency situation such as an armed conflict in and around Japan.
Their agreement is appropriate in that it is based on recent changes in the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region, such as rising tensions in the Korean Peninsula and China's increased activities at sea.
Setting new common goals on Japan-U.S. security cooperation, which the two countries have not sufficiently discussed so far, is of great significance as it will help improve bilateral relations which were strained under the administration of former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.
The current common strategic goals were worked out in the so-called two-plus-two talks by foreign and defense ministers of the two countries in February 2005 when the Liberal Democratic Party was in power. The goals declare that the Japan-U.S. alliance will continue to play an essentially vital role in ensuring peace and stability in the region and the entire world, and call on both countries to continue to consider the roles, missions and capabilities of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and U.S. forces.
However, Japan was unable to hold in-depth discussions on the roles of U.S. forces and the SDF under the Hatoyama administration because bilateral ties were strained over the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture.
A joint declaration on the deepening of the bilateral alliance, which Maehara and Clinton confirmed that the two countries will announce when Prime Minister Naoto Kan visits the United States this coming spring, will likely be based on the new common strategic goals.
The new National Defense Program Outline, which Japan adopted in December last year, describes China as a concern for the region and the whole world, and declares that Japan will strengthen its defense capabilities on the Nansei Islands in southwestern Japan that include Okinawa. China, which has been continuing its military buildup without ensuring transparency and increasing its activities aimed at expanding its interests in surrounding seas, is undoubtedly a major destabilizing factor for Japan and other neighboring countries.
However, Japan needs to work out a comprehensive strategy in not only the field of politics but also other fields including economy and culture in order to ensure that China will be a responsible member of the international community. Foreign Minister Maehara told Clinton that Japan-China relations are getting on track to improvement. Japan should step up its efforts to ensure that move.
In their discussions, Maehara and Clinton shared the view that the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program should be resumed if North Korea takes concrete action to abandon the agenda. The two countries should exercise prudence in deciding whether to resume such talks in order not to repeat past mistakes.
Regarding the Futenma relocation, Maehara and Clinton also agreed to discuss specific measures to lessen Okinawa's burden of hosting U.S. bases in Japan. There is no prospect for a breakthrough in the deadlocked relocation. However, Tokyo and Washington should exercise prudence in responding to the issue to prevent the matter from hampering consultations on the strengthening of the bilateral alliance. (Mainichi Japan)
January 8, 2011
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