DPJ mum on TPP talks before polls

Kyodo

The government won’t announce whether Japan will participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership before next month’s election, national policy minister Seiji Maehara said Thursday.

“I don’t think talks between Japan and the United States will come to any agreement at least during this election period,” Maehara said, referring to the ongoing consultations with TPP negotiating countries on Japan’s participation in the talks on the U.S.-led free-trade pact.

“We should not be taken advantage of by the United States in negotiations by rushing to decide on participation,” he added.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has expressed a positive stance toward joining the talks but has yet to make a formal announcement, due in part to opposition from the farm sector, which fears an influx of cheaper produce from overseas under lowered tariffs.