We are all in new territory given the U.S. abdication of leadership on trade liberalization and the Trump's administration [sic] hostility to the multilateral trading system. In rescuing the TPP and finalizing the Free Trade Agreement with the European Union, Japan has delivered mega trade agreements that carry a very different meaning from when the negotiations started. They make a stand in favor of open markets, tariff elimination exercises, and codification of rules at a time when there is grave concern over the direction of the two largest economies in the world.
The economic nationalists in the White House are ascendant. The overture on TPP 11 from the Trump administration was never credible. They are demanding a "better deal" for the U.S. I cannot identify ANY country that wants to negotiate with this U.S. administration given its misguided priority of attempting to reduce trade deficits in goods with trade agreements, and how they treat existing or negotiated trade agreements as disposable. [While it has escaped criticism of its trade surplus with the U.S. so far], Japan is on the [administration's] radar.
There are important geoeconomic considerations driving a more proactive Japanese foreign economic policy. In the long term, the goal is to anchor the U.S. to the regional architecture by encouraging its return to TPP. In the medium term it is about developing cooperation among like-minded countries to tame Chinese mercantilism in areas such as excess steel capacity and forced technology transfers.