TOKYO, April 24 Tokyo stocks slipped to one-week
lows on Thursday, extending losses into the afternoon session as
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that a trade pact with
the United States hasn't been finalised yet.
Abe's comments came after a meeting with U.S. President
Barack Obama who is on a state visit to Japan.
Some investors had been hoping that a two-way trade deal,
seen as crucial to a broader trans-Pacific agreement, could be
reached at the meeting.
The Nikkei share average fell 1.2 percent to
14,367.13 at one point, its lowest level since Thursday last
A U.S.-Japan trade deal could benefit Japan's major
exporters such as car makers in the medium-term. Abe has touted
the broader trade deal as vital for growth in the world's
third-biggest economy, but faces tough domestic opposition to
opening up agricultural market.
Mollifying Japan's powerful farmers' lobby and completing a
successful trade pact is seen as a key test on whether Abe can
deliver the third arrow, or structural reform, to go with two
others that's already been deployed -- fiscal and monetary
The Nikkei was also under pressure ahead of the looming
earnings season and lingering worries over the economic impact
of a sales tax hike that kicked in this month.
The broader Topix index fell 0.9 percent.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)