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The U.S. has requested formal consultations with Japan on insurance issues in mid-October, a U.S. government official said Thursday.Washington wants to discuss its concerns over the speed of Tokyo’s approval process for new insurance products, activities of recently reformed private rating organizations and new policyholder protection bodies to be set up in December, the official said.Officials from the Finance Ministry and Financial Supervisory Agency said they are undecided about Washington’s request, pointing out there would be no reason to meet if the topics are the same as those in previous talks.Most of the topics the United States wants to discuss in October were raised during the four-day bilateral talks in June.The talks were held to monitor progress in Tokyo’s deregulation efforts in the insurance market under the Japan-U.S. agreement in 1996. They ended in disagreement, with Japan saying it had fulfilled its commitments and the U.S. saying it had not.This time, Washington wants to focus not on timing but “real problems” in the insurance markets that affect Japanese and foreign insurers, the U.S. official said.

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