Japan-EU free trade talks postponed due to Cyprus crisis

TOKYO – A Japan-European Union summit next week that was expected to initiate negotiations on a free trade agreement has been postponed due to the financial crisis in Cyprus.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry and EU side said in statements issued Saturday that the summit, scheduled for Monday, was put off because the European leaders, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, needed to remain in Brussels to work on finding a solution to the financial crisis in Cyprus.

Japan and the EU had been expected to announce the launch of negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement.

Cyprus is struggling to raise 5.8 billion euros ($7.5 billion) and meet conditions to secure an international bailout to avert a financial collapse within days.