Cabinet gives formal blessing to signing of TPP on Thursday


A Cabinet meeting Tuesday saw the government formally decide to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact — putting an end to years of wrangling and heartache over the agreement.

A signing ceremony in Auckland on Thursday will see Japan, the United States and 10 other countries put pen to paper on a document that also needs ratification by each party’s legislature. Shuichi Takatori, state minister at the Cabinet Office, will represent Japan at the event.

Ahead of the ceremony, ministers and chief TPP negotiators from the 12 countries will hold separate meetings Wednesday.

Takatori will be Japan’s representative in Auckland after Akira Amari, who played a central role in the TPP negotiations, resigned as economy minister last week over a funds scandal. Amari’s successor, Nobuteru Ishihara, is tied up with parliamentary discussions and will not attend.

The 12 TPP nations reached a broad agreement in October, after negotiations that lasted 5½ years.

After the document is signed, the countries will begin their respective domestic ratification processes in order for the pact to come into force.