* Japan proposed dialogue with new Trump administration
* Some questions remain about agenda
* Japan trying to avoid trade friction with U.S.
(Adds direct quote, details of dialogue)
By Stanley White
TOKYO, April 7 Japanese Finance Minister Taro
Aso said on Friday that the agenda for his meeting with U.S.
Vice President Mike Pence this month is not limited to trade and
Aso said the meeting, known as the U.S.-Japan economic
dialogue, will also discuss energy and infrastructure.
Aso also said he does not expect the meeting to touch on
Toshiba Corp, which is struggling due to large
writedowns at its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse.
Pence will visit Japan April 18-19 for the meeting.
"From the beginning Japan has been talking about economic
policy, energy, infrastructure investment, and the rules of
trade," Aso told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
"This is not something that is limited to trade and
The dialogue will be a major test of U.S. President Donald
Trump's confrontational approach to trade. Senior administration
officials have signalled they would press Japan to remove
non-tariff trade barriers and buy more U.S. products.
Trump's administration is also focusing more on "currency
misalignment," which could leave Japan vulnerable to complaints
about the value of the yen and how that affects its exports.
A weaker yen tends to boost Japan's exports to the United
States, which could form the basis of complaints from U.S.
officials and companies.
Japan, which proposed the dialogue, had hoped to keep
contentious issues like autos and agriculture trade out of the
talks by proposing an agenda focused on infrastructure
investment and energy.
When asked on Friday, Aso said he was still unsure if other
cabinet officials would accompany Pence.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is expected to join, a
Japanese government source told Reuters last month. This
suggests that the U.S. delegation will try to make trade a major
component of the dialogue.
(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Chris Gallagher)