TOKYO (AP) - The Japanese economy minister involved in talks with the United States and other countries on a Pacific Rim trade pact has been hospitalised for tests, just as the negotiations approach a year-end deadline.
Chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Mr Akira Amari, who is in charge of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic recovery and reform programme, is expected to be in hospital for three to four days. He didn't know the nature of the tests.
"I think he can handle things from the hospital and I don't think it will have any impact," Mr Suga said. "Once the test results come out there may be further discussion," he said.
Mr Amari has so many responsibilities that he sometimes jokes his titles won't all fit on his business card. Apart from heading Japan's negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, he is the minister of Economic Reform and Revitalisation and also Minister of Total Reform of Social Security and Tax.