Japan, U.S. set new harbor talks

In a final effort to avoid threatened U.S. sanctions against Japanese ships, Japan and the U.S. will hold talks on Japanese port practices on Mar. 26 in Washington, the Transport Ministry said Mar. 28.

Japan will be represented by Sadao Iwata, head of the Maritime Transport Bureau, who will explain Japan’s recent efforts to simplify and improve the transparency of Japanese port practices. Earlier this month, the Transport Ministry and three industry groups in Japan involved in the issue hammered out an interim agreement that set the end of July as the final deadline for drawing up a drastic reform plan for port practices.

The U.S.-planned sanctions are set to become effective on April 14. “I think the U.S. will understand our efforts,” Transport Minister Makoto Koga said Mar. 28. Japan will also hold talks on Mar. 26 in Brussels on the same issue with the European Union, which has also been complaining about Japan’s port practices.