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Search is on for chief TPP negotiator

JIJI

A chief negotiator is being selected to lead the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks and will be given a post at the Cabinet Secretariat, sources said.

A TPP negotiation team will also be formed by working-level officials from the ministries, the sources said Sunday.

The chief negotiator and the team will answer directly to a ministerial TPP council comprising the economic revitalization minister, the chief Cabinet secretary, the foreign minister, the farm minister and the trade minister, the sources said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe named economic revitalization minister Akira Amari to double as minister in charge of the free trade negotiations and set up the ministerial council following his Friday declaration of Japan’s decision to participate in the market liberalization talks.

The chief negotiator will be well experienced in multilateral negotiations and be chosen within about a week, at the earliest, the sources said, adding that both public- and private-sector candidates are being screened.