Japan will finally sit down at the table with 11 other nations in Malaysia on Tuesday to negotiate the trade rules for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement after years of contentious political wrangling.

The current TPP participants — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam — have already gone through 17 rounds and aim to reach an agreement by year's end. Late-comer Japan has only three days left to state its case before round 18, which started July 15, ends on Thursday.

But Japan, whose GDP accounts for more than a fifth of all 12 TPP nations combined, still has a solid chance to be on the leading edge of drafting new trade and investment rules for the Asia-Pacific region.