(Asahi: November 17, 2015 – p. 7)
By Shigeo Ohata
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) finalized its proposed measures in response to the basic TPP agreement on Nov. 16. These measures have obtained the approval of the Japan Agricultural Cooperatives (JA) and an official decision will be made on Nov. 17.
The system for compensating losses suffered by cattle and pig farmers will be expanded because they are likely to be affected by the reduction or abolition of tariffs on meat products. Compensation will be raised from 80% to 90% of losses.
As measures to stabilize rice prices, which rice growers’ groups strongly demand, the LDP proposes that the government purchase an additional amount of rice for reserves equivalent to the increase in imports.
On the other hand, policies to promote the diversification of rice paddies to other more profitable crops are also included. Systems to support exports will also be set up in light of the abolition of tariffs on most agricultural and food products in the TPP nations. Specifically, an export body funded by the JA, the national government, and other organizations is being contemplated. A “check-off program,” under which farmers make small contributions for collective promotional activities for their products, will also be introduced.
To avoid being accused of pork barrel spending, the LDP has not indicated the total funding required for these measures. Proposals to increase public work projects, such as land improvement and building of dikes, are also not included.