Flood-postponed EU-Japan summit moved to Tokyo
Brussels, July 9, 2018 (News Wires) - Tokyo will now host an EU-Japan summit on July 17 to sign a free trade accord after the Japanese premier cancelled the talks in Brussels because of deadly floods at home, the European Commission said on Monday.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called off the trip this week to Belgium and three other countries as the death toll from flooding and landslides caused by record rains hit 100.
The summit between Abe, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council chief was postponed until next week after the pair discussed the floods by telephone on Monday, Juncker's spokesman Margaritis Schinas said.
"The two sides agreed that the EU-Japan summit scheduled to take place in Brussels this Wednesday will instead take place in Tokyo next week on July 17," Schinas told reporters in Brussels.
"On this occasion, they will sign the economic partnership agreement and the strategic partnership agreement," Schinas said.
He added that Juncker, who heads the commission, the EU's executive arm, will fly to Tokyo from Beijing, where he will attend an EU-China summit.
Tusk had earlier said on Twitter that "in view of the tragic circumstances, we are ready to move our EU-Japan Summit from Brussels to Tokyo next week", but did not give a date.
Abe had been expected to visit Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt from Wednesday.
Abe is now set travel to some of the areas worst affected by the flash flooding and landslides as early as Wednesday, according to local media.
The trade deal with Japan is the biggest ever signed by the European Union.