The earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan is called “out of assumption” for its immeasurable power and devastating damage. Japanese government’s slow and insufficient response to the post-earthquake activities are sometimes criticized and they apologize because the earthquake power was “out of assumption”. Here is one short story & fact relating to export control in Japan to illustrate their comment is true.
Japan’s Export Trade Control Order (“ETCO”) have exemption of license requirement in one of the provision in Article 4 for exporting free of charge goods.
“Goods imported without charge for the purpose of export without charge, which are specified by the METI in public notice.” This case is subject to license exemption.
As noted in Article 4, the applicable case is specified in METI notification, such as re-export of repaired or replacement of goods, re-export after the exhibition in Japan, or re-export by ATA Carnet etc.
On March 16, 2011, one additional case was announced in METI notification and implemented immediately upon the announcement. The summary of this additional case is that:
“Re-export of the goods used for nuclear disaster relief by foreign government or international organization after the rescue completed.”
OK, this is great. Nobody have objection under such disaster emergency and appreciate immediate action by METI.
However, it is irony. Actually similar case has been exempted under ETCO Article 4 since long time ago in opposite case for nuclear disaster relief in:
“Goods to be exported without charge for the purpose of import without charge, which are specified by the METI in public notice.”
In notification, this exemption case is stated, in summary like, “Export of goods which are requested by foreign government who suffered nuclear disaster, and being returned & imported into Japan after the rescue complete.”
This means, Japanese government have expected Japan help foreign country in nuclear disaster, but did NOT expect Japan is rescued by foreign government, therefore the such case was not included in the exemption notification.
Now Japan definitely needs the assistance of US and France in Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant accident, so METI quickly issued new notification after 5 days earthquake happened. This apparently shows the nuclear disaster in Japan and rescue by foreign government was “out of assumption” for METI.