(Mainichi: January 29, 2015 – p. 30)
Economic Revitalization Minister Akira Amari’s resignation came right before the Diet is scheduled to deliberate the ratification of the TPP agreement. While farmers are concerned about how this will affect the planned agricultural measures, they reacted coldly to this “politics and money” scandal, which they think is “irrelevant.”
A dairy farmer in the town of Makubetsu in Hokkaido who keeps 500 milk cows said: “Even before the TPP agreement, I had thought that I need to manage my farm in my own way. The minister’s resignation is irrelevant.” With regard to the TPP measures to be implemented, he said: “It is not possible for agriculture alone to receive special treatment.” He intends to continue steady efforts to improve profitability.
The president of the agricultural production company Niigata Yuuki, who chairs the “National Council of Rice Farming Entrepreneurs,” said: “Although Mr. Amari took the lead in negotiating the TPP agreement, bureaucrats worked with him. I don’t think there will be a major impact.”
Meanwhile, farmers opposed to the TPP voiced harsh opinions. A rice farmer in the village of Ogata, Akita Prefecture, asserted: “It is a matter of course that Mr. Amari should resign.” He added: “I doubt if the TPP negotiations were also conducted in a fair and honest manner.”
A livestock farmer in the town of Shikaoi, Hokkaido snapped: “He should take responsibility until the TPP accord is ratified.”