Followup meet on bilateral insurance pact set

Japan and the United States will conduct their first followup meeting in Tokyo on June 11 to discuss progress made under a bilateral insurance agreement reached in December, the Finance Ministry said June 6.

The working-level talks will be attended by officials such as R. Byron Sigel, director for Japanese affairs at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and Tsuyoshi Takahashi, head of the ministry’s second insurance division. The December agreement called for Tokyo to take steps to further liberalize its insurance market, such as allowing insurers to set premium rates more freely on products such as auto insurance from July.

The Finance Ministry was expected to explain the steps it would be prepared to take toward a more open insurance market, including the more comprehensive financial system deregulation steps planned under its “Big Bang” initiative.