Japan, Canada to launch free trade talks

TOKYO – Japan and Canada formally agreed Sunday to launch talks on a bilateral free trade agreement expected to result in the first such pact between Tokyo and one of the Group of Eight major economies.

The agreement was announced by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper in Tokyo.

Japan and Canada, which has abundant natural resources, concluded a joint study on the feasibility of a trade deal this month, saying the two countries’ economies were largely complementary.

Harper arrived in Tokyo late Saturday and was due to tour Japan’s northeast, hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March last year, before travelling on to Seoul on Monday to attend a nuclear security summit.

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