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Japan's free trade campaign could sputter without US or China

Bringing two biggest economies to multilateral framework seen as crucial

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to the media at a European meeting in Brussels, May 2016.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan aims to implement two major trade deals in 2019, but the glaring absence of the two biggest economies from those frameworks highlights the tough road ahead as the country seeks to become a global business hub.

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