WASHINGTON - U.S.
Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick today commended the creation of more
than 100 deregulation zones and other important regulatory reform steps that
Japan is taking to spur its economy and further open its markets to U.S.
companies. These steps are included in the "Second Report to the Leaders" under
the U.S.-Japan Regulatory Reform and Competition Policy Initiative (Regulatory
Reform Initiative). The joint report was released at the conclusion of the
summit between President Bush and Prime Minister Koizumi at Crawford, Texas on
structural and regulatory reform is essential for Japan's return to long-term
growth," Zoellick said. "The reforms included in this report in key areas such
as telecommunications, information technology, and energy will boost
productivity in Japan, and help to create jobs, improve competitiveness, and
bolster the economy."
welcome Prime Minister Koizumi's new initiative establishing deregulation zones
throughout the country where businesses are unencumbered by burdensome
regulations," Zoellick said. "While in Tokyo earlier this year, I had several
good discussions with my Japanese counterparts on the deregulation zones. These
are supposed to empower local governments to take the lead on deregulation,
which could then be applied nationally."
Japan's Prime Minister approved the first 57 deregulation zones under this new
initiative. Some of the first zones could be of significant commercial interest
to U.S. business, such as the zones established at seven of Japan's major air
and sea ports where overtime charges associated with customs processing have
been cut in half. An additional 60 zones were approved today in
In addition to
the deregulation zones, other measures specified in the 55-page report will
yield many, concrete benefits for Japan's consumers as well and U.S. firms
operating in the Japanese market. Examples of measures Japan has taken or will
competition in an increasingly important segment of the telecommunications
sector (fixed-line to mobile phone calling) by allowing market players to set
their own prices;
legislation this month to extend the term of copyright protection for
cinematographic works from 50 to 70 years, a step that would bring Japan in line
with the global trend to extend such rights;
advancing reform of Japan's energy sector through legislation now being
deliberated in the Japanese parliament that would pave the way for expanding
liberalization of the retail electricity sector in Japan from 26 percent of the
market to 63 percent by 2005;
• Improving the
speed and efficiency of approval processes for medical devices and
pharmaceuticals that will bring products to market faster, increase consumer
choice, and expand access for U.S. companies to Japan's healthcare
• Bolstering the
independence and staffing of Japan's antitrust watchdog so that it can better
promote a competitive environment in the Japanese market for domestic and
foreign companies alike;
foreign firms to use modern merger techniques to acquire Japanese companies,
which will make Japan a more attractive environment to much needed foreign
direct investment; and
• Reducing by 50
percent overtime fees associated with customs procedures at most of Japan's
major air and sea ports, thereby lowering the cost of doing business for U.S.
exporters and express carriers.
and Prime Minister Koizumi launched the Regulatory Reform Initiative in June
2001 at Camp David as an important component of the U.S.-Japan Economic
Partnership for Growth. Each year, the two Governments exchange reform
recommendations in the fall under this Initiative. These recommendations serve
as a basis for annual reports to the President and Prime Minister, specifying
reform measures to be taken by each Government. USTR is the lead agency for the
U.S. Government for this Initiative while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes
the lead for the Japanese Government.
For more information, please see the fact sheet summarizing the Second Report to the Leaders and the full text of the report.