The Finance Ministry says there is no need to resume bilateral insurance talks with the U.S., Vice Finance Minister Koji Tanami said Thursday.
“The Japanese government’s position is that the issue is over,” Tanami told a regular news conference. He made the remark in response to Washington’s recent decision to revive the controversial “Super 301,” a procedure that may lead to economic sanctions on Japan and other countries.
Tanami did not, however, rule out the possibility of holding some form of talks with the U.S. over diplomatic relations. He stressed that he did not know exactly what the U.S. demands in the insurance sector here are.
Although he acknowledged that Eisuke Sakakibara, vice finance minister for international affairs, recently met with U.S. Deputy Trade Representative Richard Fisher in Tokyo, he said he does not know the results of the meeting.
Japan and the U.S. ended talks in June in disagreement over the 1996 insurance accord, which required Tokyo to take some deregulatory measures.
Following the talks, the Finance Ministry said Japan had fulfilled all its commitments and thus in 2001 will scrap transitional regulations that are effectively intended to protect American insurers in Japan. But the U.S. trade representative said Japan’s deregulation efforts were not sufficient and thus opposed the planned 2001 liberalization.