(Nikkei: November 6, 2015 – p. 4)
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) held a joint meeting of its Agriculture and Forestry Division and other relevant divisions on Nov. 5 to discuss measures for agricultural sectors to be affected by the TPP agreement. There was a clamor for measures to assist cattle farmers, who will be affected by a drastic reduction of tariffs on beef imports. Participants also criticized the provision on renegotiation of the terms of the agreement with the U.S. and others seven years after the TPP accord takes effect, for fear that the rice issue may be renegotiated, for instance.
Agriculture and Forestry Division Director Shinjiro Koizumi will attend meetings with producers in Kobe City on Nov. 6 and in Kasai City, Hyogo Prefecture on Nov. 7. He told reporters at the LDP headquarters on Nov. 5: “It is necessary to come up with TPP measures after listening to the farmers’ real concerns as well as their determination to work harder.”
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) research committee on economic partnerships held a meeting on Nov. 5. Criticism was voiced against the TPP negotiation results, such as: “Abolition of auto tariffs will take 25 years; this is out of balance with agricultural products.”
DPJ Secretary General Yukio Edano stressed at a news conference on Nov. 4 that, “The only ultimate remedy for the adverse effects on agriculture, forestry, and fisheries is the system of household income compensation (compensating farmers for the gap between production cost and selling price) that we are proposing.”
The Japanese Communist Party, which is taking a clear anti-TPP stance, is increasingly assertive. Chairman Kazuo Shii told a news conference on Nov. 5 that “the provisions of the TPP agreement run counter to the Diet resolution.” He indicated that his party will oppose participation in the TPP until the end. (Slightly abridged)