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Three days of vice-ministerial-level air talks ended in Tokyo on August 6 with the United States and Japan unable to produce signs of progress over expanding air services in the Asia-Pacific region, one of the most lucrative markets in the world.

Negotiators said it was unlikely that the two sides would be able to strike a deal by September, a goal that was agreed on at an unofficial meeting last month in Portland, Ore. “Frankly, I feel it will be difficult to reach an accord in September. … The fact that we started official negotiations, which aim to strike a deal, in itself is quite meaningful,” said Hiromichi Toya, vice minister for international affairs at the Transport Ministry, during a press conference.

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