Following Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's announcement Friday that Japan will join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade talks, the focus of attention has now shifted to this weekend's summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit in Honolulu.

Despite fierce opposition from lawmakers in his ruling Democratic Party of Japan, Noda is expected to officially convey his decision on the TPP to other world leaders at the summit.

Opponents warn that if Japan becomes a TPP member, it could spell disaster for some domestic industries, but supporters argue the move would boost Japan's exports and could even represent a step toward the realization of a wider free-trade zone in the Asia-Pacific region.