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Japan hopes co-op with US in ongoing TPP talks

Updated: 2013-12-03 20:19
( Xinhua)

TOKYO - Japan on Tuesday showed willingness to cooperate with the United States in the ongoing US- led Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks so as to conclude the negotiation by the end of 2013.

Japan hopes co-op with US in ongoing TPP talks

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before their talks at Abe's official residence in Tokyo December 3, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

During a meeting between Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting US vice President Joseph Biden here, Abe said Japan and the United States should work together to bring out political solution to the TPP talks so as to conclude the negotiation by yearend.

Japan and the United States are at odds on tariffs of some agricultural produces which Japan sees as sensitive items like rice, wheat, pork and beef.

Japan wants to retain tariffs it imposes on the farm items, while the US aims to abolish all tariffs. Both the US and other negotiating countries are urging Japan to further open up its agricultural market.

During a meeting between Akira Amari, Japan's minister in charge of the TPP talks, and US Trade Representative Michael Froman in Tokyo Sunday, Amari said they "had a very tense discussion on outstanding issues, but reached no conclusion," ruling out the possibility that Japan could make further concessions in the free trade talks.

Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi also told reporters Sunday following the meeting that Japan has done its utmost to make concessions on tariffs related to products that the US regards as sensitive, urging Washington to show " flexibility" on contentious issues.

Biden, for his part, said that the TPP members need to seek comprehensive agreement and the deal would force the involving countries to make tough decisions, indicating that Japan should make compromises.

The vice president also said that his country will make an effort to solve the relocation issue of the Futenma Air Station as soon as possible.

The airbase located in Japan's southernmost prefecture of Okinawa has been an obstacle between the two alliances as Okinawa local government and residents strongly demand the US side and the Japanese central government relocate the base outside the prefecture.

Biden also hailed that US-Japan alliances are the corner stone of regional security, adding US President Barack Obama appreciated Abe's efforts to enhance the bilateral security ties.

As to the current stricken China-Japan relations, Biden said crisis management and communication between Beijing and Tokyo are necessary.

Biden arrived here Monday for an Asian trip, which will also bring him to China on Wednesday and then South Korea.