South Korean President Moon Jae-in's special envoy, Moon Hee-sang (L), shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the latter's residence in Tokyo on May 18, 2017.
"Every country has got some issues where it would like to renegotiate, and so we don't believe it's a good path forward", he said. Both New Zealand and Japan have already ratified it. "But we need to discuss more what's best for Japan".
"As the flagbearers of free trade. we will aim at early realisation of TPP and early conclusion of RCEP", he said at the joint media conference.
"We have worked hard to generate the momentum around it", said English.
Following the meeting overnight, New Zealand and Japan reiterated their commitment to the TPP despite the fact the United States has pulled out.
In a joint statement, they were "committed to maintaining the unity among the signatories and early entry into force of the TPP".
Mr English said if the countries stuck with the current timetable, the TPP would start in the first half of next year.
He said that was "the type of thing that happens with negotiation - that you make agreements that sometimes will benefit others". "I hope that they have a collective will to proceed", English said. Japan is of the same mind as New Zealand as far as revisions go: "Leaving the content untouched is the realistic way to bring [the pact] into effect with 11 nations", a government source said.
He said the countries would discuss whether the TPP as negotiated should stay in place - NZ's preferred route - or the deal should be renegotiated now the U.S. has quit.
But Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey, a strong opponent of the TPP, this week said the existing text has "all the toxic rules the United States insisted on that undermine affordable medicines, grant foreign investors special rights to enforce offshore, prohibit requirements for data to be held onshore, and more".
Trade officials will be asked to work on an implementation plan at a Trade Ministers' meeting in Vietnam next week, which Trade Minister Todd McClay will co-chair.