Keidanren has worked on the political and business leaders of Europe towards the launch of an economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the EU through various activities such as annual delegation trips.
When meeting with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron two years ago, I showed a firm determination to deepen discussions with European partners over the issue of non-tariff barriers, the center of interest in Europe through industrial sector basis as well as business organization-oriented meetings. The top three leaders endorsed the concept. Private sector policy dialogues have developed steadily ever since then.
To my great delight, a Japan- EU telephone summit is going to be held this evening to agree to commence the EPA talks. The government negotiators need to accelerate the process towards the project conclusion.
In my last week visit to China, I met with new Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao. The vice president hold talks with Japanese business people shortly after his inauguration. It means that the Chinese government still gives the Japan-China relationship higher priority.
The delegation members told the new leader that it was hard to wait for a summit to rebuild mutual trust between the two countries. Japanese companies will work harder to contribute to the bilateral relation improvement through business activities and grassroots communications.