World Bulletin / News Desk
Speaking in the parliament in Tokyo on Tuesday, Abe said: "Japan will continue to persuade the U.S. to try to get on with the Trans-Pacific Partnership."
Abe was one of the region’s strongest proponents of the trade deal, which he saw as important in making the Japanese economy more competitive.
The parliament ratified the deal on Nov. 10 and the Cabinet gave its final approval on Monday, the same day Trump formally withdrew the U.S. from it.
Japan was the only “partner” aside from New Zealand to ratify the trade pact.
The TPP is a 12-member trading bloc of Asian and Pacific Coast countries. Significantly, it included the U.S., but not China.
Satoshi Osano, senior researcher at the Daiwa Institute of Research, said: “From Tokyo’s point of view it was a strategic decision to put the U.S. and Japan – not China – at the forefront of regional rule making.”
Hideki Matsumura, senior economist at the Japan Research Institute, said: “Japan needs to stay flexible to respond to whatever Trump proposes as a replacement while paying attention to how his position on China evolves.”
There is also speculation that Japan Inc. will mobilize its considerable assets and good will to help define any new trading relationship. They might include people like Masayoshi Son, head of SoftBank, who personally pledged $50 billion in new investments after meeting Trump in New York last November.
Trump has indicated he is open to negotiating and concluding bilateral trade deals. Abe will get a better idea of what that might mean in a summit meeting with the president in a few weeks.