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Suga calls cross-border travel ‘indispensable’ in APEC video message

Nov 21. 2020
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga
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By The Japan News/ANN

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga vowed to make efforts to resume full-scale economic activities in a video message for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) event on Friday, calling the resumption of cross-border travel “indispensable” for economic recovery.

Leaders and representatives of 21 countries and regions including Japan, the United States and China were to participate in an APEC summit on Friday night.

Ahead of the summit, Suga’s video message was played to an event featuring business leaders, among others.

“Japan will resume global economic activities while thoroughly implementing preventive measures against infection,” he said, stressing the need for resuming international cross-border travel.

The prime minister also said that Japan intends to take the lead in establishing international rules on digital trade, while aiming to become a “global financial center” by welcoming more foreign financial experts.

Economic recovery from the novel coronavirus pandemic is expected to be a major issue in discussions at this year’s APEC summit.

Suga also called for World Trade Organization reform in the video message. Amid an increased risk of inward-looking tendencies during the global economic downturn, “creating rules for a free and fair global economy is critically important,” he said.

Suga expressed his desire to realize a free trade zone in the Asia-Pacific region through the early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which 15 countries including Japan, China and South Korea signed on Sunday, and the expansion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact.

He also pledged to exercise leadership for the realization of a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” a vision initiated by Japan and the United States, and expressed his determination to promote digitization and realize a decarbonized society, his administration’s key policies.

“I will thoroughly review regulations hindering digital transformation and swiftly undertake relevant reforms,” he said.

He also vowed to “create a virtuous cycle of the economy and the environment,” referring to his government’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

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