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Top business executives from Japan and the United States will begin their annual meeting today in Tokyo to discuss bilateral and multilateral trade issues, electronic commerce and information technology, conference officials said Saturday.

At this year’s Japan-U.S. Business Conference, executives from nearly 90 companies are expected to discuss ways to deal with bilateral issues such as interconnection fees charged by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. and the ongoing dispute over Japanese steel exports, in which Washington claims that unfair trading practices by the Japanese steel industry are hurting the U.S. industry.

They are also likely to take up the issue of an early launch of a new round of trade liberalization talks under the World Trade Organization.

During the three-day conference, participants will also hold sector-by-sector subcommittee meetings, and the leaders are expected to issue a joint statement at the end of the conference.

Japanese participants include Minoru Makihara, chairman of Mitsubishi Corp., who will also chair the conference, Takashi Imai, chairman of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), and NTT President Junichiro Miyazu, the officials said.

The U.S. side includes Michael Armstrong, chairman of AT&T Corp. , and Sanford Weill, chairman of Citigroup Inc.