Singapore and Japan sign historic free trade pact


The leaders of Japan and Singapore today signed a free trade pact - the first of its kind for Japan - that is expected to removed tariffs on almost all goods traded between the two countries.

Mr Koizumi has been on five-nation Southeast Asian tour to strengthen Japan's ties with the region.

Much of his trip has been dominated by talk of a Japanese proposal to set up a free trade zone incorporating Southeast Asia, Japan, China and South Korea.

That zone would encompass more than 600 million people an important market for Japanese exports.

Mr Koizumi has visited the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore, facing some protests over Japanese actions during World War II.