Japan moves closer to trade pact despite concerns
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Japan has made clear to the United States that it is seriously considering talks on a sweeping Pacific trade pact, but Tokyo's entry already faces fierce opposition in both countries.
Japan's newly elected conservative prime minister, Shinzo Abe, sounded an increasingly upbeat tone on the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership during a visit on Friday to Washington despite tepid support from much of his party.
President Barack Obama has cast the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a centrepiece of renewed US engagement in Asia, saying that the emerging pact could boost growth and set rules to govern the dynamic but unwieldy region.
The participation of both Japan and the United States, the world's two largest developed economies, would make the pact cover nearly 40 per cent of the world economy and potentially offer a model for an elusive global trade accord.