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The Globe and Mail

Trade talks expected as Harper arrives in Japan

Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrrives in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday, March 24, 2012.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has arrived in Japan, where trade returns to the top of the agenda following a day talking human smuggling in Thailand.

While in Tokyo, Mr. Harper and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda are expected to formally launch free-trade negotiations.

Government officials say a joint study on areas of economic co-operation showed a number of complimentary areas and Canada has set ambitious goals.

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In addition, the Japanese government is expected to relax restrictions on imported Canadian beef.

Japan has the world's third largest economy.

In Bangkok earlier Saturday, the government announced it had set aside $12-million over two years to help detect and prevent human smuggling operations.

Roughly $7-million of the new funding will go toward projects in southeast Asia with Thailand being a major beneficiary.

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