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2012年11月22日 (木)

日米首脳会談 TPP参加へ環境整備を急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 22, 2012)
Create suitable environment to join TPP negotiations
日米首脳会談 TPP参加へ環境整備を急げ(11月21日付・読売社説)

It is crucial to promptly create an environment to allow Japan to participate in negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral trade agreement.

During a summit meeting in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed to accelerate bilateral talks toward Japan's participation in the TPP negotiations.

Noda expressed his eagerness to join the TPP talks, saying his resolve had not changed since he decided a year ago to hold preliminary talks with the countries concerned.

Bilateral talks on the TPP started in February but have stagnated since then because the Japanese government delayed an official decision to participate in them due to outright opposition or wariness among members of the Democratic Party of Japan. The U.S. auto industry also has expressed concern over Japan's participation in the TPP and Obama gave consideration to automakers during the presidential election earlier this month.

To harness the vigor of the Asia-Pacific region to ensure Japan's economic growth, this country needs to become involved in formulating new free trade rules to have its opinion reflected appropriately.

The TPP is a top-priority issue that would lead to a more solid Japan-U.S. relationship and create a foundation to pressure China to abide by international trade rules in future.


Criterion for DPJ candidates

Noda plans to make "promotion of the TPP" one of the criteria for candidates running on the DPJ ticket in the upcoming House of Representatives election. Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe also has shown a positive attitude toward Japan's participation in the TPP talks.

However, some members of both the DPJ and the LDP oppose Japan's participation.

Political parties should deepen discussions on Japan's participation in the TPP talks so whatever administration is inaugurated after the lower house election will be able to join the talks at an early date. It is indispensable for the government to press ahead with measures to support the domestic agricultural industry while accelerating talks with the United States on automobiles and other products.

During his talks with Obama, Noda referred to disputes over the sovereignty of South China Sea islands between China, Vietnam and the Philippines. He said the South China Sea issue is of common concern for the international community, which has a direct impact on the peace and stability of Asia, and that it was important to observe international law.


Press China for self-restraint

For Japan, the South China Sea issue is not someone else's affair. After three of the Senkaku Islands were nationalized, China has dispatched government ships on a daily basis in an attempt to forcibly undermine Japan's effective control over the islands.

It is vital to have the international community recognize that China's approach is not only Japan's concern but a common concern for Asian countries. Also, it is important that Japan and the United States cooperate in pressing Beijing to exercise self-restraint.

During Tuesday's summit talks, Noda also mentioned the recent series of crimes committed by U.S. servicemen in Okinawa Prefecture and asked Obama to thoroughly enforce discipline on the U.S. military.

The U.S. military imposed an overnight curfew on U.S. servicemen in Japan in the wake of the alleged rape of a Japanese woman by two U.S. sailors in the prefecture in October. Since then, however, U.S. servicemen have violated the curfew and on two occasions have broken into people's residences. These problems cannot be overlooked.

The U.S. military should take more effective preventive measures. We call on the United States to make a more serious effort to prevent crimes and accidents involving U.S. servicemen to ensure the stable stationing of U.S. forces in Japan, which is a cornerstone of the bilateral alliance.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 21, 2012)
(2012年11月21日01時50分  読売新聞)


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