Prefectural Assembly Member Warns! Osaka-Wuhan “Partnership Port Alliance” Too Dangerous! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Prefectural Assembly Member Warns! Osaka-Wuhan “Partnership Port Alliance” Too Dangerous!

The "Partnership Port Agreement" between Osaka and Wuhan is in jeopardy!

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Mr. Nishimura, a prefectural assembly member from Osaka, spoke up, saying, “It is a problem that such an important matter is not even on the agenda of the prefectural assembly.
The partnership between Osaka and Wuhan was signed at this venue last December. The “One Belt, One Road” message is clearly written.

What is a partnership port? Simply put, it means that we will do business together. China is a powerful country. There is a danger that we may find ourselves incorporated into his country’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative.

This is the warning bell of Nikkaru Nishimura, 35, a member of the Osaka Prefectural Assembly who belongs to the Liberal Democratic Party.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Osaka Port Authority and the Port of Wuhan on December 16 last year. It has now become controversial, and many voices of concern have been posted on social networking sites. Mr. Nishimura, a prefectural assembly member, continues.

The trigger was an inquiry from a citizen in early May. I looked into it and said, ‘What the heck is this? The Osaka Port and Harbor Bureau had concluded such an important MOU without consulting either the city or prefectural assembly. Moreover, the Wuhan side approached us in November of last year, and the Osaka Port Authority signed the MOU without even going to visit the site.

The “One Belt, One Road” initiative, proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2001, is a massive economic zone linking China to Europe. As is well known, Japan has not taken a position in favor of it. Although the Osaka-Wuhan memorandum does not mention “One Belt, One Road,” Mr. Nishimura points out that doubts cannot be dispelled.

The problem is the place where the memorandum was signed. On December 16 last year, a “cooperation briefing” was held in Ichigaya, Tokyo, between the Japan Council for the Promotion of International Trade and the People’s Government of Hubei Province, China, which has jurisdiction over the Wuhan New Port. The pamphlet for the meeting clearly states the phrase “One Belt, One Road Project. The partnership between Osaka and Wuhan was concluded at the same venue on the same day. We can only assume that the partnership was concluded with the same meaning.

There is already an uproar on the Internet, but neither Mayor Ichiro Matsui nor Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura is making any move. However, councilors who see the problem, such as Shinya Kotsubo, a city councilor of Gyobashi City, Fukuoka Prefecture, have gathered beyond the local government and are lobbying not only the prefectural government but also the national government.”

Incidentally, Osaka is not the only city that has signed a memorandum of understanding with China. The government of the state of Victoria in Australia concluded a memorandum of understanding (in 2006) and an agreement (in 2007) with China’s National Development and Reform Commission regarding the “One Belt, One Road” concept. The agreement included the Victorian government’s support for Chinese companies in bidding procedures, tax policy, dispute resolution, and market access. However, the Australian government abandoned the agreement in April 2009, citing its “potential threat to the national interest.

The Osaka Port and Harbor Bureau, however, has not commented on the possibility of the agreement being incorporated into the “One Belt, One Road” project.

The Osaka Port Authority said, “We entered into the partnership agreement for the purpose of promoting the opening of shipping routes and the exchange of information. Our memorandum of understanding does not mention “One Belt, One Road” at all. That is what we have told everyone who has contacted us.

He responded, “What we have signed in Tokyo is only a “one belt, one road” memorandum. He emphasized that the conclusion of the MOU in Tokyo was a “coincidence. I hope this partnership will not become a foothold for China’s expansion into Japan.

Nishimura and Kotsubo (right) discuss the dangers of “partnership port alliances.
  • Photo Kei Kato

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