Prime Minister NODA's BLOG

I flew to Honolulu, Hawaii last weekend to attend the leaders' meeting of APEC, a forum for discussing the future of the Asia-Pacific region, and returned to Japan late last night (the 14th).  Coming on the heels of my participation in last week's G20 meeting, this was the second round of my diplomatic schedule running three weeks in a row.

This was my first visit to Hawaii in no less than 34 years.  Surrounded by the blue sky and blue sea which both stretch on forever, the natural beauty of Honolulu, swept by a brisk warm wind, was just as it had been years before and I found myself with quite a nostalgic feeling.  At the same time, in the vicinity of the beach where the summit meeting was held there stood several high-rise hotels, dozens of floors high, which had not been there previously.  I found myself quite surprised at the sight of the city having achieved substantial development as a major resort area.

Hawaii, located "dead center" in the Asia-Pacific region, a future growth center, suffered heavy damage in World War II, yet has also come to symbolize post-war peace and prosperity.  In that sense, I suppose it can be said that Hawaii was the location most suited for feeling the certain future of the Asia-Pacific region over the years to come, both for its characteristics as a location and in historical perspective.

As I participated in the summit discussions, which were overflowing with enthusiasm, I once again felt keenly that great potential is unfolding in the Asia-Pacific region.  I believe that the other leaders of the 21 countries and regions in attendance were all able to share that feeling towards that kind of future.

In order to put into concrete form the ideals found in the "Yokohama Vision" Japan compiled last year while serving as chair, at this meeting, we succeeded in reaching agreement on concrete measures preventing discriminatory policy between domestic and international companies in the area of technological development and reducing the number of barriers for environmentally-friendly products.  I consider this to be truly significant with a view to contributing to regional development via Japan's superior technologies, and thus a major outcome.  In order to accelerate energy conservation still further within the region as a whole, I explained Japan's experiences and lessons learned as well as its future challenges, thereby contributing to the overall discussions, in my own humble way.

As for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, or TPP, which I had spoken about in the press conference I held before I departed Japan, I announced that Japan has decided to enter into consultations toward participating in the TPP negotiations with the countries concerned.  Several economies (at APEC, participating countries and regions are referred to as "economies") expressed their welcome.

I also engaged in talks individually with, among others, President Barack Obama of the host government of the US, President Hu Jintao of China, and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia.  Each of these was undertaken in a good atmosphere and we were able to hold meaningful meetings.

In the future, I would like to continue to deepen discussions regarding measures to incorporate the dynamism of the Asia-Pacific region in order to support Japan's future, while assessing future responses thoroughly.

Yoshihiko Noda
Prime Minister of Japan
November 15, 2011

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