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Japan to talk with EU on launching negotiations for free trade agreement despite Cyprus woes

Japan's Prime Minister will discuss a possible free trade pact with the European Union even as a planned summit in Tokyo to launch the negotiations gets postponed because of the financial crisis in Cyprus.

Chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Monday Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will talk by phone with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy about the negotiations as well as about Cyprus late Monday.

His visit to Tokyo was canceled over the weekend. Cyprus later secured an agreement that paves the way for a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout.

European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht is in Tokyo and meeting with Japanese government and business officials as scheduled.

Earlier this month, Japan said it will join talks on a Pacific trade pact, the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership.