(Yomiuri: July 30, 2015 – Top play)
The government has begun coordination on a 70,000-ton “special TPP quota” for imports of rice for use as staple food from the U.S., as well as guaranteeing the import of at least 50,000 tons – with the remaining 20,000 tons to be left to private sector transactions — in the TPP negotiations. The U.S. government is demanding that the Japanese government guarantee imports, so Japan is meeting this demand partially. The main sticking point between the two countries regarding the expansion of U.S. rice imports is now nearing a solution.
Japan is coordinating to set a special quota of 50,000 tons in the first year, increasing this gradually to 70,000 tons over 10 years. Another special quota, at about 10% of the U.S. quota, will also be created for Australia. The expansion of rice imports under the TPP talks is expected to be limited to about 100,000 tons.
Japan has been insisting that the expansion of rice imports should be left to private sector transactions, while the U.S. is demanding that the Japanese government guarantee the full amount of imports to make sure its exports will increase. The solution being contemplated is a compromise between the two positions. (Abridged)