Fukunari Kimura, a professor at Keio University and an expert in Asian trade, indicated in a Nikkei interview that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a proposed free trade agreement, should be a stronghold of free trade, since the Trans-Pacific Partnership has suffered a setback with the U.S. withdrawal. He also expects the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to exercise leadership in concluding negotiations for the RCEP, a huge regional economic agreement being negotiated among the 10 ASEAN governments and their six FTA partners — Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. U.S. President Trump has formally decided to leave the Trans-Pacific Partnership. What do you think of this? It is unlikely that the TPP will be revived under the Trump administration, but we don’t need to be so pessimistic. The TPP originated in the P4 agreement of four countries, Chile, Brunei, Singapore and New Zealand, and later expanded to involve 12 countries. It could still go into effect without the U.S. at first and could later be expanded, including with the possible rejoining of the U.S.