February 27, 2013
GOOLSBEEISM IN THE PACIFIC AND ATLANTIC:
Japan Set to Join Trade Talks (MITSURU OBE, 2/27/13, WSJ)
Posted by Orrin Judd at February 27, 2013 9:08 PMRiding on a wave of strong public support, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to soon announce a decision to join U.S.-led free-trade talks, a move that is favored by industry but fiercely opposed by the nation's agriculture lobby.The move would signal that Mr. Abe is using his popularity for a bold step that other administrations have avoided. It comes as the farm lobby's influence has weakened amid a shrinking and aging rural population and just after Mr. Abe secured a crucial pledge from President Barack Obama in talks last week that rice farmers, the strongest faction of the farm bloc, could be exempted.Abe administration officials say they are looking to move as quickly as possible on launching talks for entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, known as TPP, with a potential announcement by the prime minister as early as next week.