The Japan Times: Dec. 8, 2005
Business chiefs urge METI to bolster Asian FTA efforts
Business leaders want Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshihiro Nikai to promote free-trade agreements between Japan and Asian economies as well as market-opening negotiations under the World Trade Organization.
Hiroshi Okuda, chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), delivers an opening speech before Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai at a hotel in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.
Nikai, who became METI chief Oct. 31, heard the advice during a meeting Wednesday with the heads of influential business lobbies to get their views on the government’s economic and trade policies.
Hiroshi Okuda, chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), said concluding WTO and FTA negotiations will be necessary for Japanese companies to "survive in global competition," a ministry official said.
Okuda also said the government should use its official development assistance in trade negotiations in order to gain an edge for Japan. He is chairman of Toyota Motor Corp.
Kakutaro Kitashiro, chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, told Nikai that Japan should focus more on multilateral FTA negotiations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, saying they lag behind bilateral trade arrangement talks between Japan and specific ASEAN members, according to the official.