Japan’s Diet began Friday to deliberate whether to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, with the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe racing to get the deal approved before the current extraordinary session ends on Nov. 30.
Abe has said that it is Japan’s “calling” to be the first country to ratify the U.S.-led pact, which it inked with the United States and 10 other Pacific Rim nations in February.
“It’s crucial for our country to raise the momentum for (the TPP) to come into force early,” Nobuteru Ishihara, minister in charge of the TPP, said during an initial question session in the special House of Representatives committee on the pact.
While U.S. President Barack Obama has vowed to get the TPP ratified before his term ends in January, he is up against a reluctant U.S. Congress.
Both main candidates in the Nov. 8 election to choose Obama’s successor — Democrat Hillary Clinton, a former TPP proponent, and Republican Donald Trump — have opposed the pact in its current form.