|Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Japan intends to join in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade liberalization talks during a news conference in Tokyo, capital of Japan, on March 15, 2013. (Xinhua/Kenichiro Seki)
TOKYO, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Friday that Japan intends to join in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade liberalization talks.
Abe told a press conference that Japan should not be left outside TPP's rule-setting, adding the overall impact of TPP for Japan's economy will be positive.
Japanese manufacturers such as carmakers and high-tech companies have welcomed Abe's move to enter the TPP talks, expecting growth in their exports to developing members of the TPP.
But farmers, traditional supporters of Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, have strongly opposed the participation, saying the agricultural industry could be damaged by potential cheaper imports.
Earlier this week, farmers rallied in Tokyo to protest against the government's possible decision to join in the TPP talks.
The announcement also triggered intense debate within the ruling party amid strong opposition from domestic farmers and some of its lawmakers depending on their votes, according to local media.
In a bid to alleviate the tension, Abe pledged to protect certain key industries from the impact of joining in the U.S.-led trade talks, in which Japan will open up its market to foreign goods and services. The talks also include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.