No need for U.S. to correct TPP comments, Noda says

by Natsuko Fukue

Staff Writer

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Wednesday he will not ask Washington again to revise a statement that he claimed misquoted his comments about Japan’s stance on free-trade talks.

“I don’t think I need to ask (the U.S.) again to correct” the statement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership because “it is confirmed that (the) comments were not directly quoted,” Noda told the Upper House Budget Committee in the morning after an opposition lawmaker urged him to ask Washington for a correction.

The comments, published on the White House website, said U.S. President Barack Obama “welcomed Prime Minister Noda’s statement that he would put all goods, as well as services, on the negotiating table for trade liberalization.”

A New Komeito lawmaker criticized Noda for his decision at the committee, saying Japan would not be able to protect its national interests under such conditions.

Noda, however, explained at the committee meeting that his statement originally said Japan would “put all goods, as well as services, on the negotiating table for trade liberalization (but ask participant nations to) carefully handle sensitive products,” but the U.S. government only quoted his statement in part.

“It is a problem that they cut short” the statement, Noda said.

The White House declined to revise the statement on the bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Honolulu, according to Kyodo News, despite Japanese officials saying Tuesday that the government had requested Washington correct it.