US wants more talks on Japan bid to join free trade group
WASHINGTON - The United States said on Wednesday it was still considering whether to support Japan's bid to join talks on a trans-Pacific regional free trade agreement, three months after Tokyo announced interest in the negotiations.

"Both governments agreed to continue the consultative process, with additional meetings to be arranged at a later date," the office of the US Trade Representative said in a statement after two days of talks with Japanese officials.

"The meeting was an opportunity for the United States to continue the assessment of Japan's readiness" to make significant market-opening reforms, USTR said.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced Tokyo's interest in joining talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) back on Nov. 11, prior to joining President Barack Obama in Honolulu for a meeting of Asia Pacific leaders.
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