Juncker to visit Japan to sign EPA

Jiji PressBRUSSELS (Jiji Press) — European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will visit Japan on July 17 to sign an economic partnership agreement for free trade between Japan and the European Union, a commission spokesman said Monday.

Juncker’s trip to Japan was arranged after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe canceled a planned European tour, which included a signing ceremony for the Japan-EU EPA in Brussels on Wednesday, in order to better deal with the aftermath of torrential rain that hit western parts of the country.

Abe and Juncker held talks by telephone Monday and agreed to work on arranging a Japan-EU summit in Tokyo on July 17, Japanese officials said.

The swift rescheduling of a Japan-EU summit came as both sides are eager to see the pact come into effect at an early date.

European Council President Donald Tusk, referring to the torrential rain in Japan that caused massive flooding, said on Twitter, “In view of the tragic circumstances, we are ready to move our EU-Japan Summit from Brussels to Tokyo next week.”

“My heartfelt condolences and words of European solidarity with the people of Japan and PM,” Tusk said, adding, “The EU will help in any way we can.”

At a press conference in Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Japan and the EU are arranging to sign the pact early.

Japan and the EU reached a broad agreement in their EPA talks in December.

The two sides are hoping to maintain the multilateral free trade system as a counter to the protectionist moves of U.S. President Donald Trump.Speech

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