(Tokyo Shimbun: July 1, 2015 – p. 6)
In light of the enactment of the TPA bill in the U.S., the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) held a meeting on June 30 to discuss the TPP negotiations, which are expected to gain momentum from now on. LDP members reiterated to TPP Minister Akira Amari and other government negotiators their demand that the Diet resolution on maintaining tariff for the five sensitive agricultural sectors be observed.
Taku Eto, chairman of the group called “association for safeguarding national interest in the TPP talks,” said: “We have doubts if the negotiations are being conducted in a manner in line with the resolution of both houses of the Diet in certain aspects,” demanding adherence to this resolution. Other participants in the meeting asked questions on how the negotiations are progressing in relation to the Diet resolution.
Amari explained: “At this point, I cannot really say that the talks will have the approval of everybody, including farmers.” He also said: “When Japan entered the talks, the U.S. and New Zealand were demanding the abolition of all tariffs. We have persevered in arguing against this,” asking for the LDP members’ understanding. He added: “I would like to win your approval when the outcome of negotiations is revealed.”
Amari also told the participants that working level talks between Japan and the U.S. will resume shortly, and the two countries will work for holding a 12-nation ministerial meeting in July to reach a basic TPP agreement.