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Japan (Ministerial Visit)

Volume 131: debated on Wednesday 13 April 1988

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To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the Secretary of State's recent visit to Japan.

My right hon. and noble Friend visited Japan on 10 to 16 March accompanied by nine leaders of British industry. His visit combined meetings with Prime Minister Takeshita and his colleagues with further steps, in the light of the "Opportunity Japan" campaign, to identify the potential for an improved trading relationship with Japan and the scope for mutually beneficial industrial co-operation.My right hon. and noble Friend had a constructive meeting with Mr. Tamura, Minister for International Trade and Industry. In addition to pressing for the speedy resolution of outstanding problems of access to the Japanese market, the Secretary of State noted the recent positive developments in bilateral trade and welcomed the continuing investment by Japanese companies in the United Kingdom. Both Ministers welcomed the relaunch on a broader basis of official level talks between the two Departments.My right hon. and noble Friend also met the Telecommunications Minister, Mr. Nakayama, with whom he confirmed an agreement on the liberalisation of value added telecommunication services between the United Kingdom and Japan.Overall, my right hon. and noble Friend found the Japanese market to be one in which there was now a much greater role for imports: borne out by the recent steady increase in volume imports both globally and from the United Kingdom. The task now is to encourage British business to take maximum advantage of the opportunities opening up in Japan, and my Department will be working to this and through the "Opportunity Japan" campaign, recently launched by my right hon. and noble Friend.


To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the launch of the Government's inner cities revival programme arranged by his Department.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister launched action for cities on 7 March. She was joined by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and colleagues from all the main Departments which have a part to play in helping regenerate our inner cities.The Government will be spending about £3,000 million on urban regeneration in 1988–89, bringing in several times that amount in private investment. The Prime Minister announced 12 new Government initiatives, including a series of action for cities working breakfasts, aimed at business leaders, explaining to them how they and their companies can help the inner cities.