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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and two European Union leaders agreed in a teleconference Monday to start official negotiations in April on a free trade and service pact in April, Japanese officials said.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and EU President Jose Manuel Barroso had originally planned to visit Tokyo to have a regular meeting with the Japanese leaders. But the two canceled their three-day tour to cope with the Cyprus financial crisis and instead talked to Abe by telephone.

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