Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda recently announced that Japan would start talks with member countries on participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). TPP is regarded by many as the best route to a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific, a goal for many in the region since 1993. Prime Minister Noda’s decision to move forward with the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam was welcomed by President Barack Obama, but met with caution on Capitol Hill. TPP also remains controversial within Japan. As Japan attempts to rebuild in the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis that struck on March 11, deal with an aging and declining population, contend with a strong yen, and define its role in the context of a rising China and a fast-changing Asia Pacific, TPP promises to remain a topic of keen interest.
On December 2, the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at Brookings and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA hosted a conference that examined Japan’s potential entry into the TPP, addressing the opportunities and pitfalls the trade pact may present for its economic future and that of the region. Leading experts provided diverse perspectives on recent developments and future prospects, as well as the state of the debate within Japan, the United States and other current members of TPP.
After each panel, speakers took audience questions.