INTERVIEW-Japan hopes U.S. returns to TPP but overhaul tough - negotiator

* Japan welcomes U.S. becoming positive toward TPP - Umemoto

* Agreement among 11 members may have affected U.S. stance

* Says any country interested in joining TPP is welcome

* Final text of revised TPP due to be published Wednesday

TOKYO, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Japan welcomes a positive stance by the United States toward an Asia-Pacific trade pact, but indicated that altering the agreement at this point would be very difficult.

Japan's chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Kazuyoshi Umemoto, told Reuters that an agreement among the remaining 11 member nations, set to be signed next month, may have had an impact on the United States.

"We have been working, motivated by hopes that the United States would return to the trade pact soon. We welcome it becoming positive toward the TPP," Umemoto said on Tuesday.

Japan took the lead in forging the revised trade pact after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled America out of an earlier 12-nation version last year, saying he wanted to seek one-on-one deals that would be more beneficial to the United States.

Eleven countries finalised the pact in January and will sign it in Chile on March 8.

Last month, Trump said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that it was possible Washington might return to the pact if it got a better deal, a change of heart Umemoto said was probably because the 11 remaining members had clinched a new deal.

"It probably was high-profile that we reached the agreement among the 11 nations since it was right before the Davos meeting. That probably had a certain impact," Umemoto said.

The final text of the revised TPP, now called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement For Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is expected to be published on Wednesday.

The new deal does not make changes in the area of market access agreed on by the original 12 members and minimised the number of rule-related items that are frozen, he noted.

"Still, it took us half a year to reach the agreement (for the TPP 11) with intensive talks," he said, when asked whether there was room to reopen talks to lure Washington back.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has rejected the idea of reopening talks on the delicately balanced pact, though some sources said Tokyo might eventually act as a bridge to lure Washington back with minor changes that Trump could sell back home as a victory.

Asked about suggestions that Britain might join the TPP trade bloc after it leaves the European Union, Umemoto said any country which endorses the agreement and is interested in joining would be welcome regardless of its geographical location. (Editing by Linda Sieg and Jacqueline Wong)