Australia has demanded it be allowed to keep its 5 percent tariff on Japanese car imports in place in bilateral free-trade negotiations with Japan.

The demand is apparently a response to Tokyo's recent decision to tolerate U.S. auto tariffs in separate trade negotiations, a Japanese government source said.

Australia had been willing to abolish the tariff on automobiles and trucks within three years of enacting any bilateral pact, but changed its stance to lengthen the period.