Japan will join Pacific trade talks despite opposition in U.S. Congress
Washington Post -- Mar 16
Despite a backlash from U.S. lawmakers Thursday over Japan's possible entry into trade negotiations with the United States, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Friday his nation would join the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership talks in pursuit of a Pacific trade pact.
House and Senate members opposing the move said in a letter to President Obama that they feared that if Japan joined the talks, it would do little to boost exports of U.S. cars to that country and that the one-sided vehicle trade between the two countries will remain a drag on American industry.
Japan is notorious for its low level of auto imports - less than 6 percent of total sales, compared with an average of about 40 percent in the developed world. The letter estimated that for every car the United States sells to Japan, Japan exports 120 to the United States.
The lopsided auto trade, which analysts say is a product of regulatory, cultural and other barriers, has been the subject of prior U.S. talks with Japan, but to little effect.
Abe has set an ambitious agenda to buoy the nation's economy, and some top Japanese analysts argue that a free-trade pact with the United States and other nations could be an important element in that. It could also guarantee Japan access to U.S. energy exports to help temper its rising power costs.
His decision to join the talks raised protests from farmers who have long enjoyed protected status in Japan.
South Korean soldiers were guilty of abusing women in wartime, Osaka's mayor said in comments reported Tuesday, days after provoking a storm by labelling sex slaves a military necessity. (Bangkok Post )
Officials at Yokohama City Hall said Monday the city has reduced the number of children on nursery school waiting lists to zero from 179 as of April 1, meeting its 2010 target of doing so in three years. (Japan Times )
The parents of a nightclub worker killed in an arson fire three years ago filed a suit in the Nagoya District Court on Monday seeking damages against top members of the Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group. (Tokyo Reporter )
Kyodo News said Monday that it has dismissed Satoshi Kondo, 51, deputy chief of its general administration bureau and former personnel affairs division chief, for meeting individually with a female student searching for a job and doing an inappropriate act.
(Jiji Press )