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Irked by WTO ruling, Abe vows to reform trade organization

  • April 30, 2019
  • , The Asahi Shimbun , 02:40 p.m.
  • English Press

By JUNICHI BEKKU/ Staff Writer


OTTAWA–Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during a visit here April 28 that Japan will work to change the rules of the World Trade Organization when it chairs the Group of 20 summit in Osaka in June.


Abe divulged the policy initiative during a joint news conference with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau.


“I plan to have constructive talks on this issue with the G-20 leaders,” Abe said.


His remark followed a WTO appeals panel ruling on April 11 that South Korea could maintain a blanket ban on imports of Japanese seafood from areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.


Abe made clear he sees little point in conclusions by international bodies that do not resolve issues, adding that Japan is “resolved to contribute to reforming the WTO” when it has the G-20 presidency.


Yasutoshi Nishimura, a deputy chief Cabinet secretary, said after the news conference that the United States had expressed, during a WTO meeting in Geneva on April 26, its support of Japan’s position with regard to the WTO panel’s ruling.


Later that day, Abe expressed his gratitude for the U.S. stand to President Donald Trump, according to Nishimura.


During the news conference, Abe also referred to Washington’s decision to impose sanctions on countries that purchase crude oil from Iran.


He expressed concern that the policy could have a ripple effect on energy supply or the global economy in implicitly calling on the United States to act more constructively.

Japan imports most of its crude oil from the Middle East.


“Iran’s constructive role is very important for stabilization of the Middle East region,” Abe said.


The April 22-29 swing took Abe to four European capitals, including those of France and Italy, as well as to the United States and Canada.


He returned to Haneda Airport in Tokyo’s Ota Ward on a government aircraft on the evening of April 29.

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