The EU and Japan announced that a Brussels summit planned for July 11 that would have seen a free trade agreement officially signed has been postponed after a series of deadly floods and landslides struck the Japanese home islands over the last several days, the chief spokesperson of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas told reporters on July 9.
The two sides are now expected to sign the agreement after the EU Council gave its final stamp of approval on July 6. Both Brussels and Tokyo will finalise the agreement when European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk fly to Tokyo on July 17.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had to cancel his trip to Europe after mass flooding left at least 100 people dead in Japan. Since July 5, parts of western Japan have received three times the usual rainfall for the whole of July, which has forced two million people to evacuate their homes.
“At this difficult time, the European Union stands in full solidarity with the people and authorities of Japan. We express our condolences to all those who lost their loved ones,” said the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, in a joint statement.