Japan's interest in joining the Trans Pacific Partnership has been welcomed by farmers and the Government but has sparked concerns it could delay conclusion of the free trade agreement.
Acting Trade Minister Steven Joyce said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's statement last week of Japan's interest in joining TPP negotiations was good news.
The Dairy Companies Association welcomed the announcement "cautiously".
"Japan is a significant dairy market and its entry into the TPP provides an opportunity for New Zealand to negotiate improved access for its dairy products," said DCANZ chairman Malcolm Bailey.
However, Mr Bailey hoped Japan's entry "won't delay the conclusion of negotiations beyond the October 2013 timeline".