His Majesty in Japan for APEC Summit
By Azlan Othman in Yokohama

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and other world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, yesterday arrived in Japan, for 18th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting 2010.

Upon His Majesty's arrival at Tokyo Haneda International Airport, the monarch was greeted by Ambassador Minoru Shibuya, Protocol Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Awang Lim Jock Seng, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs & Trade of Brunei Darussalam, Awang Mohammad Alias bin Serbini, Brunei Darussalam's Ambassador to Japan and other senior officials.

The 18th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting will be held from November 13 to November 14 at the InterContinental Yokohama Grand Hotel in Yokohama, Japan.

Under the chairmanship of Japan's Prime Minister, Naota Kan, the APEC Economic Leaders are expected to focus their discussions on sustaining prosperity in the Asia Pacific region, as well as the economic integration and the future of APEC.

His Majesty will meet His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan today (Saturday). The monarch will also be attending a welcoming working lunch, a retreat session on "sustaining growth and prosperity" to deliberate on growth strategy and human security, meet APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) members and hold separate bilateral meetings with Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper.

On Sunday, the leaders will hold their second retreat, where the focus will be on "Economic Integration and Future of APEC". The leaders are expected to discuss the Bogor Goals Assessment, regional economic integration and Doha Development Agenda.

His Majesty will also hold Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks with other leaders attending a closing lunch before issuing the Leaders' Declaration.

Carrying the theme "Change & Action", economic leaders will discuss Asia-Pacific's regional economic integration and new growth strategy that sets out measures to achieve balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and also discuss the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.

According to Xinhua, more than 100 Chinese entrepreneurs joined with top business leaders from the rest of the world in the Japanese city of Yokohama on Friday for the only international forum that offers interaction with leaders of the most powerful nations in the Asia-Pacific region.

The event this year is held under the theme of "Asia-Pacific as the Driving Force for Global Growth: Seeking Prosperity after Crisis".

Incepted in 1996, the annual APEC CEO Summit is the biggest event of the business community of the region.

The summit was officially recognised as a sideline event of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting and gained its current name at the leaders' meeting in Auckland in 1999.

Aside from the CEOs, the event usually draws presence of some of the presidents and prime ministers of the APEC member economies. It thus provides opportunities for business leaders in the Asia- Pacific to hear presentations from and to engage in discussions with APEC economic leaders, policy makers, academia and other CEOs on the most critical economic and business issues facing the region.

According to a report by Reuters, world leaders will be treated to "Cool Japan" at their summit this weekend in Yokohama.

The 21 leaders of the APEC Forum - nine of whom were in Seoul for the Group of 20 summit - will gather in Japan's port city of Yokohama, just south of Tokyo to talk about a new growth strategy and a giant free trade zone.

They will sit in plush arm chairs around a "digital pond" - a video screen shaped like a fish pond - in which virtual koi swim, and virtual leaves fall around a virtual stand of bamboo.

It is meant to make the leaders feel like they are in a retreat in the autumn woods, a press handout says. In the anteroom of this retreat, the leaders will view a showcase of traditional items as well as stuff representing modern, high-tech Japan.

Borrowing a slogan used for promoting Britain, it is being called "Cool Japan".

Perhaps the atmosphere will be an antidote to the sometimes heated discussions at the G20 meeting in Seoul this week, where sharp divisions between China and the United States about their respective currencies were on display. - Borneo Bulletin (13th November 2010)