Mainichi News | 9 September 2011
Japan, Australia diplomats agree to work toward restart of FTA talks
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan’s new Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba and his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd agreed Thursday that the two countries will work toward restarting talks on a bilateral free trade agreement, the Foreign Ministry said.
During a 20-minute telephone conference, they also confirmed continued cooperation on disaster preparedness, ocean security and reconstruction of Japan’s northeast hit hard by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese ministry said.
Japan and Australia have been engaged in FTA negotiations since 2007. The next round of talks originally scheduled for April has been put off in the wake of the catastrophic disaster.
Gemba, who became the country’s top diplomat last Friday, also spoke over the phone with British Foreign Secretary William Hague and agreed that they will work toward strengthening ties of the two countries, the ministry said.