BERLIN - Germany is ready to cooperate with Japan on promoting free trade and reforming the World Trade Organization, Germany's economic minister, Peter Altmaier, said in a recent written interview with Jiji Press. Altmaier made the statement in the lead-up to a Group of 20 ministerial meeting on trade and digital economy in the city of Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, which will take place early next month. In the interview, Altmaier stressed that Japan is a close partner with his country. He said that as free trade benefits all countries, Germany will make every effort to lower trade tariffs and strengthen the WTO. Japan and the European Union have sent a message against protectionism by concluding an economic partnership agreement, the minister noted.