Ambassador's Blog



The 20th Japan-EU Summit agreed to start the process towards an EPA



09 June 2011


The Great East Japan Earthquake is the worst disaster Japan has encountered since the end of the Second World War. The magnitude of the quake itself was of a once-in-a-millennium scale. However, if you imagine that the whole of Japan is covered by debris or radiation, that is completely wrong. Most of Japan remains unharmed by the disaster, the streets have leapt back to life and the level of radiation in Tokyo is actually lower than in many cities in Europe.


A total of 347km out of the 675 km of the Tohoku Expressway, which connects the Tohoku and Kanto regions, were destroyed, but traffic restrictions were lifted on 24 March following the completion of emergency restoration measures. The reconstruction of Sendai airport, which was badly damaged by the tsunami, was completed surprisingly rapidly and the facility reopened on 13 April. Furthermore, the entire Tohoku Shinkansen service resumed operations on 29 April. Japan is steadily advancing along the path to recovery.


Japanese agricultural produce and manufactured goods are rigorously monitored for radioactivity. Therefore, all the foodstuffs and goods that are circulated within Japan or exported to overseas markets are safe. If you would like to support Japan on its path towards recovery, the most effective way would be to visit our country and to continue buying our first-rate products. Japan is open and will remain open for business and travel.


Against this backdrop, it is great news that the 20th Japan-EU Summit on 28 May 2011 agreed to start the process towards an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). A Japan-EU EPA is expected to contribute significantly to the UK, EU and Japanese economies by boosting business opportunities for UK companies (with an additional €43 billion of EU exports to Japan expected), providing EU businesses with a gateway to the Asia-Pacific economies and enhancing the future commitment of Japanese businesses to the UK.

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