Nikkei front-paged an interview on Thursday with Foreign Minister Motegi. He reportedly predicted that the U.S.-Japan trade agreement will take effect next January. He was quoted as saying: “There is no divergence between Japan and the U.S. If the U.S. wants the deal to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, we will not object.” While claiming that Japan successfully obtained clear assurances from the U.S. that high tariffs or quantitative restrictions will not be imposed on Japanese auto imports, the minister stressed that the pact is a “balanced” and “win-win” deal for the two economies. Asked about items to be taken up in the next round of trade negotiations, Motegi was quoted as saying: “With regard to trade in goods, we envision holding discussions on a timeframe for the elimination of U.S. tariffs on Japanese autos and auto components.” The Japanese official hailed the separate U.S.-Japan accord on digital trade, noting that the importance of digital data is bound to surge in the digital-driven economy.