In mid-March, Japan announced its decision to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. The TPP — a proposed free trade agreement aimed at further expanding the flow of goods, services, and capital across its 12 member countries — is seen as a stepping stone to a larger free trade agreement for the Asia-Pacific region. It is also the main symbol of America’s diplomatic and security pivot toward Asia. As the second largest economy now in the pact, Japan tips the balance of the negotiations and does not come without controversy.
How will Japan’s TPP involvement change the dynamics and timeline of the negotiations? After a keynote address by Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae, a panel of trade experts will discuss Japan’s participation in the TPP, the politics of the agreement in Congress, and the likelihood that negotiations will end successfully. This event coincides with the beginning of the next round of TPP negotiations in Lima, Peru.