TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday that Japan would not enter a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States to resolve the two countries' trade imbalance.
Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting, Aso said it was true that the United States was running a trade deficit but said the situation was different from that of the 1980s, when trade friction strained bilateral relations.
Aso's comments came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump, during his visit to Japan, bemoaned the trade imbalance and called for "free, fair, and reciprocal" trade.
In a second round of economic talks in Washington last month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Aso, who doubles as deputy premier, failed to bridge differences on trade issues. The two sides are at odds over how to frame future trade talks, with Tokyo pushing back against U.S. calls to discuss a bilateral FTA.
(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim)