Mainichi Japan | February 22, 2012
Denmark backs early start of Japan-EU free trade talks
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan and Denmark agreed Tuesday to aim for the start of formal negotiations later this year on a free trade agreement between Asia’s second-biggest economy and the European Union.
The target was confirmed by Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba and Danish trade minister Pia Olsen Dyhr in Tokyo, a Japanese official said.
"I would like to advance negotiations on an economic partnership agreement between Japan and the European Union," Gemba said at the outset of their meeting.
Dyhr responded that Denmark will try to pave the way for the start of formal talks while it holds the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union in the first half of this year.
Japan and the European Union are currently engaged in a so-called scoping exercise aimed at identifying matters of mutual concern and interest related to a free trade agreement.
Japan and the European Union are exploring the possibility of organizing their annual summit in May in Japan.
Japan is hoping to reach an agreement with the European Union to enter talks on the accord at the summit.
Gemba also asked Dyhr to encourage the European Union to ease restrictions on product imports from Japan, which were imposed in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
"The spread of misinformation is serious," Gemba said. "Based on scientific (evidence), I would like the European Union to ease the restrictions."