Relations between Japan and the 15-member European Union are “moving along positively,” with trade ties in particular becoming “very substantial,” said EU Ambassador to Japan Ove Juul Joergensen during a visit to The Japan Times on Tuesday. Juul Joergensen, who took up the top post of the EU delegation here in June 1998, pointed to the increased presence in Japan of European companies, such as British telecommunications outfit Cable & Wireless, as specific proof of the improving relations, which are “expanding into new areas all the time,” he said. “Now there is major investment from EU companies into Japan … and I think we’re only seeing the beginning of it,” said Juul Joergensen, adding that trade between the two was worth some $100 billion in fiscal 1998. The ambassador also cited the cooperation between the EU and Japan in preparing the millennium round of World Trade Organization negotiations as further proof of the growing relationship. Juul Joergensen added that he “appreciated the effort by the Japanese government to bring the economy back on track.” “It is necessary (for Japan) to achieve growth for the benefit of the global economy,” he said. “I hope it will succeed.” Commenting on the n’s continuing weakness against both the dollar and the yen, the ambassador pointed to the strong economic growth in the U.S., which has helped push the dollar 15 percent higher against the n in the past 12 months. Juul Joergensen said he is convinced the n will “bounce back.” “It’s interesting to see that the n has already become an established, major currency,” he said. “The EU economy is on a positive trend,” he said, adding that growth over the next two years is anticipated to hit around 3 percent.

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