Saturday morning’s Nikkei took up Democratic presidential nominee Clinton’s latest remarks expressing strong opposition to the TPP, projecting that since the ratification process at Congress is bound to lose momentum, more Japanese lawmakers, including even LDP officials, may become negative about endorsing the regional free trade pact in the autumn Diet session. The paper added that negotiations on many planned free trade pacts, including an EPA between Japan and the EU and a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement, may become stalled, as they are premised upon the effectuation of the TPP.
Other papers wrote that the USTR sent to Congress on Friday the draft statement of administration action for the TPP, a procedural step necessary before a draft bill is sent to the legislature. While explaining that the Obama administration appears to be determined to obtain parliamentary endorsement during the “lame duck” session through mid-January next year, the papers painted a bleak picture on account of strong congressional opposition even among pro-free trade Republican members.
Meanwhile, several Sunday papers took up press remarks made on Saturday by PM Abe, who said the administration will do its utmost to obtain Diet approval of the TPP legislation in the fall. Yomiuri quoted a senior Abe administration official as saying that the USG might give up on swift ratification unless Tokyo shows its determination to obtain Diet support.