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The government said Wednesday it will accelerate efforts to get Pacific Rim economies to create a free-trade area during a series of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum meetings next year, stressing the importance of sharing views among its 21 members.

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada’s pledge at a two-day APEC symposium in Tokyo, which effectively marked the start of Japan’s chairmanship in 2010, comes amid signs of difficulty reaching a consensus in the diversified regional body, with some members wary of the United States securing its presence in Asia.

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