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Press | ACCJ Members and TPP

September 2013

TOKYO ENDS WHEAT BAN

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Japan will resume buying Western White wheat from the Pacific Northwest, ending four months of uncertainty for growers in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho after the discovery of genetically modified plants threatened to shut down their biggest market (The Oregonian, August 1).

Japan and South Korea had postponed wheat purchases when unapproved Roundup Ready wheat plants were reported growing in an eastern Oregon field in April. South Korea resumed wheat purchases in July.

XBOX ONE IN SIMULTANEOUS LAUNCH?

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Microsoft must launch Xbox One, its upcoming next-generation console, in Japan at the same time as in North America if it wishes to see a successful uptake in the region, Dynasty Warriors 8 director Atsushi Miyauchi has claimed (Develop website, July 22).

Microsoft has not set a launch date for the console in Asia. One executive has said it won’t launch in the region until 2014—which is thought will be after the rival Sony PS4’s scheduled Japan launch.

“I think Microsoft gave up promoting and presenting the Xbox 360 in Japan; it didn’t keep the momentum there,” he said.

“And if they can release the Xbox One as close as possible to the North American release date, I think that would make a really big difference this time around.”

TPP OFFICIAL IN TOKYO TALKS

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US Trade Representative Michael Froman held meetings in Tokyo on August 19 about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (Office of the United States Trade Representative, August 20).

Froman told the Japan National Press Club: “This moment offers a major opportunity for the United States and Japan to build on the bedrock of our alliance and our other alliances and partnerships in the region; to maximize regional cooperation through fora like [the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation] and the East Asia Summit; to step up our engagement with the 600 million citizens of the 10 ASEAN countries; and to develop an economic and security architecture built on international rules and norms.”

He called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) critical. “[TPP] will result in an open and transparent regional economic order that can serve as a road map for free, open, and transparent markets across the Asia-Pacific.

“We understand that Japan has some sensitivities, and it is not alone in that regard. TPP countries are addressing their sensitivities in the context of negotiations toward a comprehensive, high standard agreement where all goods are subject to negotiation.

“We believe we can work together—respectfully and pragmatically—even in areas of the negotiations where our two countries don’t see eye-to-eye, to find solutions that work for both of us, just as we were doing with the other TPP partners”, he said.

“President Obama has been a great admirer of Japan since he visited here as a young child, and on his most recent visit, he quoted a Japanese poet who wrote, ‘Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.’

“Four years ago, the first foreign leader President Obama hosted at the White House was the Prime Minister of Japan. The first country Hillary Clinton traveled to during her tenure as Secretary of State was Japan. And the first stop the President made on his first trip to Asia was Japan. That was not accidental. It was intentional.

“The Obama administration understands the central role that Japan plays in the Asia-Pacific region, and the critical nature of the US–Japan relationship in building a better future in this region and around the world.

“Fifty-three years ago, President Eisenhower signed the US–Japan Cooperation and Mutual Security Treaty. He called it the start of an “indestructible partnership” based on “equality and mutual understanding. Our commitment to cooperation and to economic security must be just as durable.

“Japan blazed the trail in the last century for the unprecedented prosperity we’ve seen emerge in the Asia-Pacific—and in doing so, it showed that individual freedom, democracy, and human rights go hand-in-hand with economic growth.

“Though each country has its unique challenges, we share certain concerns about the future, including the long-term sources of strong, balanced, and sustainable growth and the need to provide opportunity for all of our citizens.

“Our long experience as partners reminds us of this important fact: We must work together to meet those challenges. When we rely on the bonds of friendship that have helped us deal with so many issues in the past, we are positioned to overcome the challenges we now face. A strong partnership helps make us strong individually as well.”

SONY REJECTS BID TO SELL UNIT

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Shares in Sony tumbled 5 percent after the group rebuffed a proposal by Daniel Loeb, the activist US hedge fund manager, to spin off part of its entertainment business (Financial Times, August 6).

Kazuo Hirai, Sony’s president and CEO, told Loeb in a letter it made public that the film, television, and music arm was fundamental to the company’s strategy and that its investors would be better off if Sony continued to own the operation outright.

I think Microsoft gave up promoting and presenting the Xbox 360 in Japan.”

We understand that Japan has some sensitivities, and it is not alone in that regard.”