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Abe plans TPP stance before election

JIJI

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he will present his basic policy on whether Japan should join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade negotiations before the Upper House election in the summer.

Appearing on television Tuesday, Abe stressed he has no intention of putting the thorny issue aside and will reveal his basic direction prior to the campaign.

“We will not participate as long as across-the-board tariff removal without exceptions remains a prerequisite,” he said, upholding the campaign promise the Liberal Democratic Party, which he heads, made before the Dec. 16 Lower House election.

Abe said he will make a decision after examining an analysis gauging the possible impact on Japan being conducted by various government agencies.

Turning to who should be the next Bank of Japan governor, Abe said the successor to Masaaki Shirakawa must be prepared to carry out bold monetary easing steps, able to communicate deftly with the rest of the world and skilled in explaining policy.

The prime minister said he has not ruled out nominating a former Finance Ministry official for the post.

On the possibility of North Korea conducting a third nuclear test, he said Japan will take tough steps in cooperation with other members of the international community.

On the strained relations with China, he said the two nations need to hold high-level talks, especially now that there are problems.

Japan is ready to rebuild its mutually beneficial strategic relationship with China through a summit if necessary, Abe said, expressing hope of mending the ties soured by friction over the Senkaku Islands.

Clinton wants Japan in

WASHINGTON
Kyodo

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed hope Tuesday that Japan will participate in the free-trade talks under the Trans-Pacific Partnership initiative, saying it would benefit the Japanese economy as well as Tokyo-Washington relations.

“I believe TPP holds great benefits for Japan’s economy,” Clinton said in a town-meeting-style gathering with media in Washington.