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Japan, Peru to Start Trade Talks in March

Peru and Japan have agreed to begin talks on a bilateral trade accord next month in Tokyo.

Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone and his Peruvian counterpart, Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde, agreed to the plans Tuesday in Japan.

Belaunde is visiting Japan with Peru's trade minister, Mercedes Araoz.

In the trade negotiations, Japan is expected to seek lower duties on cars sold to Peru, while Peru likely will push for better access to Japan's farm and fisheries markets.

Peru and Japan have not always had such good cooperation. Last year, the countries' leaders held talks for the first time in nine years.

Relations between the nations deteriorated after Japan refused to extradite former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, who fled to his ancestral homeland of Japan in 2000 in the midst of a corruption scandal.

Fujimori spent five years in Japan, before flying to Chile to stage a political comeback. He was arrested soon after his arrival in Chile and extradited to Peru, where he was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison in an abuse of power case. He also is on trial for alleged human rights abuses committed while he was in office.

Peru has one of the largest Japanese populations outside Japan.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.