Japan and the European Union began Monday in Tokyo their sixth round of talks on a free trade agreement and their first since the bloc decided last month to continue negotiating after reviewing Tokyo's efforts to reduce trade barriers.
During the five-day meeting through Friday, the two sides are expected to discuss tariff cuts and the opening up of the Japanese railway sector, a Japanese government official said.
Discussions on tariffs are expected to accelerate after the two sides exchanged their first offers on reducing or abolishing tariffs during the last session of negotiations from late March to early April in Tokyo, the official said.
The latest round comes after EU member countries agreed in June to continue the negotiations with Japan launched in April last year after the European Commission reported on the progress made so far.
The commission had said the bloc might withdraw from the talks if Tokyo failed to make enough progress in opening up its market in one year.
The European Union is seeking greater market access for exports of cheese, wine and pork, while also calling on Tokyo to remove barriers in the railway sector, including procurement of parts, an area of interest for leading EU member countries such as France and Germany.
Japan, for its part, wants to increase exports of automobiles and electronics goods to Europe.
Japan and the European Union, which together account for roughly 30% of global economic output, aim to reach a broad agreement by the end of 2015.