May 7 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be seeking a postponement of trade negotiations with the United States because of parliamentary elections, according to a Japanese press report.
The Sankei Shimbun reported Tuesday Abe is preparing for his next summit with President Donald Trump, to be held in Japan May 25-28, but trade negotiations may not be on the agenda.
Trump had proposed the two sides reach a deal by May, but Abe reportedly responded with a firm "no," citing election concerns. The Japanese prime minister may have also told Trump postponing the deal into the summer would not make a difference for both sides.
The United States is seeking, among other things, the opening of Japan's agricultural market, in order to facilitate U.S. exports of farmed produce to Japan. Japan generally maintains a complex system of trade barriers and a high tariff on rice.
The liberalization of the market could affect support for Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, according to the Sankei.
Abe also reportedly told Trump a deal will be reached because of U.S. presidential elections in 2020, and "assured" Trump of good results as Trump seeks a second term in the White House.
Trump most recently spoke to Abe on the phone for 40 minutes on Monday, when they also discussed North Korea's recent test of short-range missiles.
Abe has sought U.S. help on resolving the issue of Japanese abductees taken to North Korea.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday the government is seeking a "swift resolution" of the matter, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said in a separate press conference on Tuesday Japan is working with the United States and South Korea to analyze the short-range launch vehicles that were fired on Saturday, according to NHK.