Photo/IllutrationPrime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, takes part in a summit meeting related to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in Bangkok on Nov. 4. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is at the left. (Pool)

Hiroshi Kajiyama, the economy, trade and industry minister, urged India to reconsider its decision to pull out of negotiations on an Asia-wide Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.

"Japan will continue to play a leading role toward an early agreement of the 16 nations, including India, and for a signing of the agreement by the end of 2020," Kajiyama said at a Nov. 5 news conference.

His comment came a day after Indian officials announced that they would no longer be a part of the negotiations.

The leaders of Japan, China and South Korea, as well as ASEAN member nations, meeting in Bangkok had been seeking to reach an agreement on RCEP before the end of the year. But on Nov. 4, they abandoned that idea and instead agreed to continue discussions so that 15 nations, excluding India, could sign the agreement by next year.

At a news conference after the Bangkok summit meeting, Indian government officials expressed concern about the negative domestic impact that might arise should it join RCEP and informed the other negotiating parties that India would no longer take part in such talks.

However, Kajiyama said that the 16 members pushing ahead with the RCEP negotiations shared the understanding that future talks would include all 16 nations.

"We have not confirmed that India was actually leaving the process," he added, indicating a difference of opinion over what India intends to do.