Asahi and Nikkei reported that Diet deliberations started on Tuesday on government-sponsored legislation to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), with Asahi highlighting Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Motegi’s remarks dismissing the possibility of renegotiating the regional free trade pact among the 11 member states. In response to a question from an opposition legislator, the cabinet minister said: “It would be extremely difficult to address and renegotiate only certain parts of it. We have absolutely no intention to strike with any country a deal that runs counter to our national interests.” The Abe administration is reportedly hoping to obtain parliamentary approval during the current Diet session, which ends in early June.
Nikkei explained that the Abe administration is seeking the early effectuation of the CPTPP based on the assessment that the multilateral trade liberalization accord would enable Japan to “forestall” President Trump’s potential demand for a bilateral FTA by arguing that it cannot make concessions beyond the scope of the CPTPP. The daily added that although the ratification bill itself will probably be enacted by June, the passage of other related legislation may not be so easy due to the tight schedule of the Cabinet Committee where a number of other important bills, such as one on gambling addiction, are awaiting deliberation.