TPP remains largely unchanged in attempt to lure back U.S., Japanese official says
Japan Times -- Feb 22
While President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership initially put the deal on life support in January 2017, details released Wednesday revealed that the remaining 11 countries have managed to agree on terms close to the agreement’s original form.

Japanese diplomats, thrust into a new role as lead negotiators, worked to keep the deal largely unchanged except for key provisions which could eventually be reinstated to lure the United States back to the deal, and to potentially re-engage the Trump administration in the Asia-Pacific region.

“One of the main reasons to keep the differences between the original TPP-12 and TPP-11 to a minimum is to induce the U.S. to come back to the deal,” said Kazuyoshi Umemoto, Japan’s chief TPP negotiator, during a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday. “Although Japan is a trading nation, and we favored trade liberalization in general, we always had to be on the defensive side. But for the first time with TPP-11, we were able to take the lead.”

In total, the new agreement removes 22 items, many of which were specifically pushed for by the United States.

“Formally speaking the 22 amendments are suspended, but the TPP is a progressive agreement. That is why in addition to having new member economies, a change to the TPP agreement would not be impossible,” said Kenichi Kawasaki, a professor and senior fellow at the Tokyo-based National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, who previously wrote an economic analysis of the original deal.

While U.S. participation in the trade pact remains improbable in the short term, during his January visit to Davos, Trump indicated an openness to rejoining the deal and on Friday, 25 senators pressed the president to re-engage on negotiations, according to The Washington Post.

News source: Japan Times
Jun 18
An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 hit western Japan on Monday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. (Japan Today)
Jun 18
A basketball referee was punched in the face by a high school player during a game in the western Japanese prefecture of Nagasaki on Sunday. (NHK)
Jun 18
Japanese car maker Toyota won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time on Sunday. (NHK)
Jun 18
More than 2,000 venomous fire ants have been discovered in a shipping container from China that arrived at a port in Osaka Prefecture earlier this month, leaving two people hurt, government officials said. (Japan Today)
Jun 18
An estimated 1.3 million Japanese people aged 15 to 64 have used marijuana, surpassing for the first time the number of those who have abused inhalants such as paint thinner, a survey by a national institute showed Sunday. (Japan Today)
Jun 18
Jurina Matsui of SKE48, one of the AKB48 family of all-female idol groups, has taken the No. 1 spot in the franchise’s annual popularity contest, which was the first to let its Thai and Taiwanese members join the 10-year-old event. (Japan Times)
Jun 18
For a Filipino man visiting Tokyo in May last year, the tour of the capital was supposed to be a fun sightseeing trip. (Japan Times)
Jun 17
An earthquake shook Gunma Prefecture, north of Tokyo, on Sunday afternoon. No major damage has been reported. (NHK)
Jun 17
A nuclear reactor at a trouble-hit complex in southwestern Japan restarted operations Saturday for the first time in more than six and a half years amid lingering safety concerns. (Japan Today)
Jun 17
Police arrested Hiromi Tsukuda, former mayor of Ito in the central Japan prefecture of Shizuoka, Saturday on suspicion of bribery over the city's land purchase. (Jiji)