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Japan reworks global trade strategy

The perception of globalisation in Japan may be a bit different from that of other developed countries as Japan strongly believes in international production networks. In the past, a typical negotiation team for a free trade agreement consisted of representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Finance. These representatives often fought harshly among themselves — even in front of their foreign counterparts. Poor coordination among them substantially weakened strategic moves and lessened their negotiating power. Now, Japan’s political leadership is overcoming traditional inter-ministry competition. The way of working toward FTAs has fundamentally changed.

The majority of Japanese support the idea of TPP 12, at least in so far as they understand its elements. They believe that the competitiveness of Japanese firms resides in their active involvement in East Asian production networks. In parallel with the TPP, Japan has already completed the negotiation over the Japan–EU Economic Partnership Agreement. The diplomatic relationship with China has been restored to some extent and negotiations over the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the China–Japan–Korea FTA are ready to be accelerated. Japan is trying to be a hub of multiple mega-FTAs and there is public support for this concept.