Japan's economy minister said Friday that Tokyo had not reached abasic accord with Washington over a Pacific-wide trade deal despite intense talksafter a bilateral summit.There had been hopes that Tokyo and Washington might break an impasse in thestalled talks during US President Barack Obama's visit to Tokyo.
Speaking hours before Obama's departure, however, Japanese economy ministerAkira Amari said what had been achieved was "not a basic accord although therewas progress"."In talks between the two leaders and ministers, we have confirmed the path to solveimportant pending issues between Japan and the United States," Amari told
reporters.Japan and the United States would "cooperate to help accelerate talks with othercountries participating" in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to bring it to an earlyconclusion, he said.Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe failed to reach an agreement on the TPP insummit talks on Thursday but told their delegates to continue negotiations.Obama urged Japan to take "bold steps" to seal the TPP, a vast agreement thatwould cover about 40 percent of the global economy and a key plank in thepresident's bid for a renewed US focus on Asia.The ambitious 12-nation deal has stalled as Tokyo and Washington lock horns overkey details, including Japanese tariffs on agricultural imports and US access to itsally's major auto market.Obama arrived in Tokyo late Wednesday on the first leg of his Asian tour which willalso bring him to South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. He will leave for Seoullater Friday.