Japan and the United States will hold “informal talks” August 6 in San Francisco to exchange views on the possible extension of the 1994 NTT Procurement Agreement, set to expire Sept. 30, a Tokyo government official told reporters.
The Posts and Telecommunications Ministry, however, made it clear it has no intention of entering formal negotiations on the issue unless the U.S. Federal Communication Commission allows two Japanese carriers — Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. and KDD — to provide international services based in the U.S.
The two firms’ applications for the licenses have been suspended for months due to what Washington terms as “trade concerns.” As a precondition to granting the licenses, the U.S. has been calling for the extension of the NTT Procurement Agreement.
The extra session for informal talks, following the review meeting Aug. 5 on the proceedings of the current agreement, was set due to a “strong request” from the U.S. side, the Japanese official said. “This meeting is by no means an occasion to decide on the extension,” he said. “And we will repeat our stance that the U.S. must first give the licenses to NTT and KDD before we start formal negotiations.”