The nation’s top business leaders urged the government Monday to join negotiations for a U.S.-backed multilateral trans-Pacific free-trade agreement when the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum holds its summit here later this month.
“We strongly call on Japan to announce its participation in the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement at the APEC summit meeting,” a statement adopted by a gathering in Tokyo led by the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), the nation’s largest business lobby, said.
“If we miss this chance . . . our country may be left out from the world’s growth and prosperity,” the statement said, while noting the need to promote structural reforms in agriculture at the same time.
The gathering was held jointly with the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai) and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, drawing about 800 participants, including former trade minister Masayuki Naoshima.
The TPP negotiations, which have been built on a regional FTA that took effect in 2006 among Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore, are being held by the four nations and five other countries — Australia, Malaysia, Peru, the United States and Vietnam.
The issue of whether Japan should join the TPP has recently emerged in political discussions ahead of the APEC summit, which will be held in Yokohama on Nov. 13 and 14.