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Remarks By Prime Minister Abe to the Australian Parliament on Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement, July 2014

Speaker: Shinzo Abe
Published July 8, 2014

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke before the Australian Parliament on July 8, 2014. He discussed Japan's actions in World War II, the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and Japan's future contributions to global defense operations.

Excerpt:

Prime Minister Menzies was the first to welcome a Japanese prime minister to Australia after the war. That was 57 years ago.

We signed a Commerce Treaty between us.

That propelled us on the road to prosperity, which we still enjoy today.

It was my grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, who signed it.

This was the start of Australian coal, iron ore, and natural gas coming into Japan. The second-coming of Japan's industry after the war first became possible through the help of Australia, our indispensable partner.

Just as Prime Minister Menzies and my grandfather did, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and I hope to make a truly new base for our relations.

This afternoon, Prime Minister Abbott and I will sign the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement.

Seven years ago, when our talks on this EPA began, many asked if we would ever see this day. I think even many members of this honourable body felt the same way.

Let us congratulate each other for the many efforts that brought us here today.

The next step for us will be the TPP. After that, RCEP. And then the FTAAP. Let us walk forward together, Australia and Japan, with no limits.

Yes, we can do it. After all, when Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and Japan's Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira said that the creation of a Pacific community was a significant long-term objective, we built the cornerstone for APEC. That was no less than 34 years ago.

Visions always come from a longitude of 135 degrees east, do they not?

Of course, we are the ones who benefit by making markets that are broad, open, and free.

Ladies and gentlemen, opening up Japan's economy and society is one of the major engines for my Growth Strategy.

I am now working to reform systems and norms that have not changed in many decades. Japan will grow by increasing its productivity while keeping good fiscal discipline.

To do that, I will become like a drill bit myself, breaking through the vested interests and the norms that have deep roots.

Reforms are now starting in the fields of agriculture, energy policy, and medicine for the first time in decades. We also started to reform old norms in our labour regulations.

Since the beginning, I have stressed that I want to make Japan a place where women shine. I have also said time and again that for non-Japanese with a can-do spirit and ability, Japan and Japanese society must be a beacon of hope.

This EPA with Australia will be a great catalyst to spark further changes as we open up Japan's economy.

It will also give us a great push forward as we work towards the TPP.

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