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Opinion: TPP accord disregards the will of the Diet and people

  • 2015-12-09 15:00:00
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(Akahata: December 9, 2015 – p. 6)


 After the basic TPP agreement was announced on Oct. 5, reports on the “inside story” of the negotiations began to come out. Many of them gave exaggerated accounts of the negotiators’ “savvy.” However, what became clear was the Japanese government’s outrageous arbitrariness in embracing the TPP in disregard of the people’s will.


 In the negotiations prior to joining the TPP talks, the Japanese government agreed to all the U.S.’s demands in order to obtain its consent to join the talks. It also agreed to engage in bilateral negotiations on longstanding U.S. demands in the auto sector and nine other areas simultaneously with the TPP talks. In short, it paid a high “entrance fee.”


 Japan officially joined the TPP negotiations in late July 2013. With the talks failing to reach a deal in 2013 and 2014, concerns that the talks might “go astray” began to emerge in 2015 because the campaigns for the U.S. presidential election primaries will pick up momentum in the latter half of the year and the election itself will place in 2016. When the last ditch effort to conclude the talks in Hawaii failed again in late July, TPP Minister Akira Amari began to press the other participating nations. As a result of serving as the U.S.’s lackey in pushing for a TPP deal, Japan ended up making significant concessions in the negotiations on agriculture, forestry, and fisheries products.


 The Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries of both houses of the Diet each passed a resolution in April 2013 demanding that there should be no negotiation on the five sensitive agricultural sectors and that if these five sectors could not be protected, Japan should be prepared to withdraw from the talks. In violation of these Diet resolutions, Japan has committed to abolish tariffs for as much as 30% of products in these five sectors.


 A survey conducted by the Japan Agricultural News on its agricultural administration monitors (Oct. 28) showed that 69% of respondents thought the government “violated the Diet resolutions.”


 The government compiled an “outline of comprehensive TPP-related measures” on Nov. 25. It is rushing to take “remedial measures” without fully explaining the negotiation process and details of the basic TPP agreement to the Diet. It is attempting to alleviate the people’s concerns and anxiety in anticipation of the House of Councillors election next year. Yet, the TPP agreement has not even been signed or ratified and has not even taken effect. (Abridged)

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