• Kyodo

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Japan and the United States will hold a meeting of senior officials Feb. 27 and 28 on a range of deregulation issues, including access charges for telephone networks and airport landing fees in Japan, Japanese sources said Thursday.

Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Ichiro Fujisaki will represent Japan at the meeting in Washington and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative John Huntsman will lead the U.S. team.

The talks are expected to focus on a proposed hike in interconnection fees new carriers pay to use the circuits of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.’s regional units.

The U.S. has been calling for cuts in the fees the NTT units impose on foreign and domestic carriers for their access to its network.

The Narita and Kansai International airport landing fees, currently the world’s highest, are also expected to be on the agenda, as the U.S. is also seeking their reduction, the sources said.

The two countries will submit a report on the results of their deregulation talks to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and U.S. President George W. Bush in June.

Before the high-level meeting, Japan and the U.S. will hold three separate working-level meetings Feb. 24 in Washington on information technology, telecommunications and cross-sectoral issues.

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