All papers reported on the economic dialogue to be held today between Vice President Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Aso, noting that the GOJ is optimistic that contentious trade issues, such as autos and agriculture, will not be addressed during the meeting due in part to the absence of senior trade officials from the U.S. delegation. Japan is anxious to focus on bilateral cooperation for the establishment of trade and investment rules so as deflect U.S. demands for bilateral trade talks.
Asahi wrote, however, that the Japanese side is wary of a possible role to be played in future negotiations by Commerce Secretary Ross, who is viewed as a trade hawk toward Japan. Although he will not take part in the Pence-Aso discussions, he will meet with Trade Minister Seko today to exchange views on the bilateral trade imbalance, in addition to cooperation on energy and cyber security. According to Nikkei, Secretary Ross may also take up such issues as Toshiba’s planned sale of its flash memory division and the bankruptcy of Westinghouse. The daily also said the Vice President may address currency policy in his meeting with Aso.