Kan, Obama agree to enhance economic cooperation

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Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Saturday that bilateral talks held with U.S. President Barack Obama, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Yokohama, were productive and they agreed to cooperate in a number of areas.

"It was a very fruitful discussion, and we have agreed to cooperate with each other throughout the APEC forum," Kan told media following talks with Obama.

Kan said that their talks touched on enhancing economic cooperation between the two nations and he would like to have discussions regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free- trade group with participating nations.

The U.S. president, for his part, told Kan that he would support Japan becoming a part of a U.S.-backed multilateral trans- Pacific free trade agreement.

The two leaders also discussed ways to diversify supply chains of energy and resources and committed to launching high-level talks on the matter as part of the ongoing U.S.-Japan Clean Energy Policy Dialogue.

"U.S. and Japanese specialists will discuss policies on the development and deployment of clean energy technologies, including electric vehicles, transformative energy and peaceful nuclear energy...," said an official statement released after the leaders' talks.

The dialogue will be led by the U.S. Department of Energy and Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry at the senior official level, it said.

In terms of the thorny issue between Washington and Tokyo regarding the relocation of a U.S. military facility with Okinawa Prefecture, Kan said Tokyo would make the utmost efforts to adhere to the bilateral accord reached with Washington in May, but officials said the debate was not "stepped up" during their discussions.

In addition, the Japanese premier explained the government's stance on its spending for U.S. military bases in Japan in fiscal 2011 and beyond, according to Japanese officials.

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