Chief negotiators from 12 Pacific Rim countries effectively ended their Brunei round of Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks on Friday, hailing progress on many issues.
The weeklong round in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei, was "successful in identifying creative and pragmatic solutions to many issues and further narrowing the remaining work," the negotiators said in a joint statement.
They will next meet in Washington Sept. 18-21, according to Japanese chief negotiator Koji Tsuruoka.
Japan has been stung by its third political scandal in a week after the country's new industry minister - whose predecessor resigned over allegations of misspending - admitted that his staff had spent office money at a sex bar. (The Guardian)
The government said Friday it has chosen Nobel physics prize laureates Shuji Nakamura and Hiroshi Amano and five others as this year's winners of Japan's top cultural award, the Order of Culture. (Kyodo)
In possibly a legal first, a female civil servant on Tuesday sued the government over what she calls institutional sexism at the ministry she works for, citing almost two decades of blocked promotions and pay raises. (Japan Times)