Japan Asks Wto To Reform Dispute Settlement System

Japan asks WTO to reform dispute settlement system

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono has asked the World Trade Organization to improve its dispute settlement system. This comes in the wake of a WTO ruling against Japan's claim opposing South Korea's import restrictions on Japanese fishery products.

In February last year, a WTO panel judged that South Korea's import ban on fishery products from several prefectures, including Fukushima, violated WTO agreements. The ban was introduced after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in 2011. But in April of this year, the WTO appellate body dismissed Japan's argument, saying deliberations by the panel were insufficient.

At a meeting between Kono and WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo in Paris on Wednesday, the Japanese minister said the appellate body did not make a judgment on the major issue, which is whether the restrictions violate the agreements.

Kono also said it is regrettable that the WTO's dispute settlement system failed to fulfill its role, and that trust in the organization is markedly declining.

Azevedo said he understands the importance of the issue in Japan, and that the organization will urge members to discuss reform of the dispute settlement system.

Kono plans to meet with his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha on Thursday, and he is expected to urge South Korea to lift the ban.