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Policy Proposals  Industrial Policy Reform of ports, import/export systems for improved global competitiveness

March 21, 2012

Japan faces an unprecedented crisis of severe deindustrialization. In order to retain our manufacturing capacity and supply chain within the country and to regain national vitality, we need to urgently strengthen the country's locational competitiveness. As part of the efforts, it is important to improve the global competitiveness of the ports and harbors in Japan and to maintain their position as bases in the international shipping network.

Keidanren has put together views in the industrial community with respect to these challenges and has striven to implement solutions. The recommendation that we have set forth this time reviews the present status of the reforms and summarizes the tasks to be tackled.

Reform of the port systems

In order for Japanese ports and harbors to function as a network and to fulfill their roles, we should develop a grand design for a port strategy for the entire country and realize an international strategic container port program ahead of its initial schedule. Also, we need to ensure implementation of the one-stop service provided through the common government portal and construct a framework of administrative bodies to become capable of processing electronic applications for entering/leaving ports on weekends, holidays and at night, with a view to realizing efficient and smooth procedures.

Reform of the import/export systems

It is necessary to continue discussions with other countries for the purpose of expanding the achievements of the mutual recognition of the Authorized Economic Operator program as part of efforts to further enhance the quality and scale of the AEO system in Japan. From the standpoint of the improvement of procedural efficiency, we should make electronic processing available for procedures pursuant to laws other than customs and tariff laws, including the processing inside the government agencies. This should ultimately be integrated into Nippon Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System, or NACCS, with a view to achieving a real one-stop service.

The way to promote the reforms

In order to carry out the reforms in a truly workable way, we need joint efforts by the public and private sectors under strong political leadership. As we work on this, we should especially develop a general coordination function to facilitate cooperation between the ministries and agencies concerned.

Industrial Policy