Nikkei extends losses after Abe says US-Japan trade pact still not finalised
TOKYO, April 24 (Reuters) - 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 week. 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 stimulus measures. 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)
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