• Kyodo

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Japan and Luxembourg agreed Tuesday to push forward the launch of negotiations on sealing a free-trade agreement between Tokyo and the 27-nation European Union, with an eye on reaching an accord during the next Japan-EU summit talks slated for late May in Brussels, officials said.

Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto asked visiting Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister Jean Asselborn to endorse the start of the Japan-EU FTA talks at the next summit, the officials said.

Asselborn, who doubles as foreign minister, said the next leaders’ meeting will be a good opportunity to advance the FTA between Japan and the regional bloc, as a sense of solidarity was generated between the two nations after the 9-magnitude quake and tsunami disaster, they said.

The Luxembourg minister offered condolences to the victims of the disaster and said both the government and private sector of the European country intend to support Japan.

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