(Sankei: July 23, 2015 – p.11)
Koji Tsuruoka, the chief negotiator for the government’s task force for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, responded to questions from the press on July 22 prior to his departure for Hawaii for the TPP chief negotiators’ meeting scheduled to begin on July 24. Tsuruoka said, “The meeting will take place at the final stage of TPP negotiations, emphasizing that negotiators will put the finishing touches on the agreement. Tsuruoka expressed eagerness by saying, “I will actively achieve progress in the chief negotiators’ meeting by putting issues in a form such that the participating countries can make political decisions during negotiations at the ministerial meeting.”
In the chief negotiators’ meeting that will last until July 27, the twelve TPP participating countries will conduct bilateral talk on tariffs and discuss pending issues such as intellectual property. The chief negotiators will try to organize points of discussion for reaching a broad agreement in the ministerial meeting scheduled to begin on July 28. However, Tsuruoka also pointed out, “I expect both political and technical difficulties in solving outstanding issues; therefore, I’m unable to make a facile prediction that there will be a total solution.” He went on to say, “It is essential for each country to flexibly and constructively respond to issues” for a general agreement.