Japan has ratified the Trans-Pacific Partnership, hoping it will one day take effect despite a pledge by the incoming United States president to withdraw from the 12-nation trade deal.
The 12-nation TPP includes New Zealand and aims to break down trade barriers among Pacific Rim countries.
To take effect, it requires ratification by at least six countries accounting for 85 percent of the combined gross domestic product of the member nations.
Given the sheer size of the American economy, the deal cannot proceed if United States President-elect Donald Trump rejects it.
By ratifying the deal yesterday, however, Japan signalled it hoped the pact could be resuscitated.
New Zealand's parliament passed a bill allowing it to ratify the TPP last month.