(Akio Fujii, Ryohei Yasoshima & Shunsuke Shigeta – Nikkei Asian Review)
Japan is mobilizing the remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact to resurrect the agreement without the United States, seeking a path forward for free trade in Asia with Tokyo as the senior partner.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the TPP on Jan. 23 as one of his first acts in office. But during a conference in Japan in early April, Hiroshige Seko, the minister of economy, trade and industry, approached his counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations with an alternate plan: Cutting the U.S. out of the deal to form an 11-nation pact.
Until now, Tokyo has maintained that “a TPP without the U.S. would be meaningless,” as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said last November. But that calculus has apparently shifted. Click here to read more.