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Japanese Prime Minister Calls For Stronger U.S.-Japan Trade Pact

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on April 29, 2015, as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (left) and House Speaker John Boehner listen. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on April 29, 2015, as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (left) and House Speaker John Boehner listen. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addressed a joint meeting of the House and Senate. He urged them to strengthen economic and trade ties between the U.S. and Japan while talking up a trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP.

U.S. lawmakers are divided over the idea of supporting broader trade with Japan. Democrats especially want to protect the American car market, while Japan is looking for the U.S. to remove obstacles to Japanese car and part imports.

Some members of Congress are also concerned about Japan’s attention to fair labor practices and environmental protection. In his remarks, Abe spoke to that point, adding “we cannot overlook sweatshops or burdens on the environment.”

NPR’s Marilyn Geewax joins Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins with details.

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