Japan could make concessions on tariffs on some sensitive farm products, a key Cabinet minister said Tuesday as U.S. and Japanese officials began talks ahead of next week's high-level multilateral negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

A deal between the United States and Japan, the two biggest economies taking part in the talks on the TPP free trade pact, is vital if a broad agreement is to be clinched at talks among all 12 participants in Singapore that start Monday.

The United States had hoped to wrap up the TPP, which aims to cut tariffs in countries forming 40 percent of the world economy and set common standards on other issues, by the end of last year.