On Monday 27 February, Mr. Siegfried Bracke, President of the House of Representatives, Kingdom of Belgium, who was in Japan at the invitation of the House of Representatives of Japan, visited the House with his delegation and met with Mr. Tadamori Oshima, Speaker, Mr. Tatsuo Kawabata, Vice-Speaker, Mr. Tsutomu Sato, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Rules and Administration, Mr. Tsuyoshi Takagi, Mr. Kenta Izumi and Mr. Kiyohiko Toyama, Directors of the Committee, and Mr. Tetsuya Shiokawa, Member of the Committee.
The Speaker began by welcoming the delegation to Japan and said that he expected that the President's visit, in the year marking the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, would lead to the further advancement of the bilateral relationship, and he wished to further activate exchanges between their parliamentarians. Offering condolences and sympathy to all those affected by the terrorist attack which occurred in Brussels in March last year, he also said that he wished to closely cooperate with Belgium in the field of counter-terrorism. In addition, he expressed his appreciation for the support Japan received from Belgium after the Great East Japan Earthquake and the resulting tsunami in 2011.
In reply, the President thanked the Speaker for his welcome and said that he was very glad to see the two countries had long enjoyed a good relationship under the common values of freedom and democracy. He added that he expected that investment and economic exchanges would be further promoted, mentioning that many Japanese firms are operating in Belgium.
They also talked about other subjects including the new bilateral tax convention*, the EU's relaxation of import regulations for Japanese foods and an amendment to Japan’s Liquor Tax Act.
*Convention between Japan and the Kingdom of Belgium for the Elimination of Double Taxation with respect to Taxes on Income and the Prevention of Tax Evasion and Avoidance