Join TPP talks by May, Keidanren chief tells LDP

JIJI

Keidanren Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura said Tuesday Japan must join the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations no later than May.

If substantive TPP talks, currently being held by 11 countries led by the United States, are supposed to end in October, Japan has to join in the next four months, Yonekura told reporters after a meeting between senior officials of the nation’s biggest business group and the Liberal Democratic Party.

Japan needs to express its intention by early February to join the talks, Yonekura told the LDP executives, including Vice President Masahiko Komura and Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba.

Procedures in the U.S. require at least 90 days before Washington will permit a new country to join the negotiations.

Ishiba told reporters that while LDP and Keidanren officials held discussions on the TPP, that “this does not mean a direction has been set.”