Japan, EU to hold phone talks on Cyprus, free trade

The Japanese and European Union leaders will hold telephone talks Monday to discuss the Cyprus bailout deal and plans to launch free trade negotiations, the government said.

The summit, which will begin at 6:30 pm (0930 GMT), comes after EU leaders postponed their visit to Japan because of the mounting debt crisis in bankruptcy-threatened Cyprus.

"We will hold a telephone summit so that we can secure close communications between the two leaderships," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

"During the summit, the EU side will explain about the Cyprus situation while we will discuss the launch of negotiations on Japan-EU economic partnership agreement and political accord," the top government spokesman said.

EU Council and Commission heads Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso had planned to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday in Tokyo, but the EU leaders cancelled their trip due to the Cyprus crisis.

The EU is feverishly trying to broker bilateral trading agreements with leading world economies the United States and Japan as it looks to boost its sometimes struggling economy.

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