The Japanese government will send a delegation of 100 to the 19th round of talks on the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement in Brunei this week.
The talks will be held from Aug 22 to Aug 30.
Japan, which had been observing the talks from the sidelines, only made a commitment to enter negotiations after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to power in December. It formally joined the 18thg round of talks last month in Malaysia.
The TPP talks are aimed at creating a free trade deal which would cover nearly 40% of the global economy.
The main sticking point for Japan with its negotiating partners will be the elimination of import tariffs on rice and four other farm product categories.
The government faces resistance from a powerful lobby of farmers who are concerned about the extra competition the TPP would bring.
Japan's market of 128 million consumers is a potentially big prize for foreign firms, many of which presently complain that Tokyo kicks up obstacles -- tariffs and non-tariff barriers -- that stop their products reaching shelves.
The automotive, health care, insurance and agricultural sectors are seen as particularly cushioned. U.S. automakers complain bitterly that they are never competing on a level playing field against their Japanese rivals.
However, some voices warn that Tokyo will try to write in so many exceptions that any agreement might fall far short of expectations, and could, in any case, take much longer to reach.
Other than Japan, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam are party to talks for the free-trade deal.© Japan Today/AFP