Japan, the Original Trade Villain, Now Casts Itself as the Hero


TOKYO—Five years ago, a hesitant Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went to Washington and agreed, under U.S. pressure, to think about talks on a trans-Pacific trade deal. A statement extracted from Tokyo after Mr. Abe met then-President Barack Obama in February 2013 committed to nothing more than a “possible interest in joining.”

Fast-forward to Mr. Abe’s policy speech in Parliament this January, when he boasted about his success in pulling together a 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership deal—one to which the U.S. is no longer a party….

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