Japan welcomes moves to avert port sanctions

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 April, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 April, 1997, 12:00am

JAPANESE Transport Minister Makoto Koga yesterday welcomed moves to avert sanctions by the United States over a bilateral port dispute with Tokyo.

'It is quite favourable that Japan and the United States drew up a memorandum aimed at averting unilateral punitive measures by the US Federal Maritime Commission [FMC],' the minister said.

'The ministry will continue making its utmost efforts to promote dialogue in line with the content of the memorandum,' Mr Koga said.

US and Japanese negotiators agreed in Washington yesterday to call on the FMC not to impose a US$100,000 levy on cargo vessels from three Japanese companies, including Nippon Yusen, when they call at a US port.

The threatened measures were aimed at pressuring Japan into lifting what the commission says are cumbersome and costly restrictions on foreign shipping lines using Japanese ports and terminals.

An official of Nippon Yusen said: 'We welcome the agreement reached between the two sides to avert the threatened sanctions, which were unfair and unacceptable.

'I believe that the Japanese and US industries will be able to hold talks to improve situations at the same table,' the official said.

Japanese ministry officials in Tokyo said talks would be held on Wednesday with Japanese industry over a framework for reforming the prior consultation system as part of efforts to meet US demand for a review of the system.