(Yomiuri Teen’s Weekly: October 30, 2015 – p. 3)
Akira Awada, a senior manager at Japan Research Institute, shared his predictions on the possible impact that the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement will have on Japanese junior and senior high school students in the future during his interview with the Yomiuri Teen’s Weekly. Excerpts are as follows:
Q: What benefits will the TPP bring to Japanese teens?
Awada: The prices of food at supermarkets and meals served at restaurants will likely drop. For example, the 12.8% tariff currently imposed on beef tongue and skirt steak will be removed in the 11th year and 13th year after the TPP goes into effect, respectively. Grapes, melons and kiwifruit will have no tariff immediately following the effectuation of the trade deal.
But a large influx of cheap produce will hurt domestic farmers. Japan was pressed by New Zealand to drastically cut its tariffs on dairy products, but it protected the dairy tariffs on the condition that it will increase its import quota for butter, which is in short supply.
Q: Will the TPP help export more Japanese products?
Awada: The TPP will make it easy to market Japanese products overseas. Coupled with the growing popularity of Japanese cuisine, more Japanese restaurants will be established overseas to offer such dishes as sushi, udon, and ramen noodles.
The TPP is also expected to help disseminate Japan’s pop culture abroad driven by the government’s “Cool Japan” promotional campaign. For example, Vietnam has eased restrictions on foreign ownership of theaters and music venues from 49% to 51%. This may help export the music of Japanese idol groups, such as AKB48, to the Southeast Asian country.
Q: How will the TPP influence job-hunting processes and people’s working styles?
Awada: As people-to-people exchanges and trade of goods and services become more active, more talented people from foreign countries will come to Japan. Companies are expected to hire capable foreigners for efficiency. In the future, you might be working under a younger, foreign supervisor.
It will become increasingly necessary to understand the cultures of other countries in addition to having foreign language competency and to have the ability to express your own opinions. Along with businesses, individuals will be also required to compete against foreign personnel. It will become important to hone your expertise and continue your studies. (Slightly abridged)