Several papers took up press remarks on Tuesday by President Obama in which he voiced strong hope for obtaining congressional endorsement of the TPP before his term expires next January. On mounting bipartisan criticism of the regional free trade pact, the President said: “Right now I’m president, and I’m for it. I think I’ve got the better argument. I will make it again.” Asahi projected that despite the President’s renewed commitment to seeking congressional approval, the prospects for early ratification are elusive due to strong opposition to free trade among voters in the Midwest, which is home to several key states for the November presidential election.
In a related piece, Yomiuri wrote that TPP ratification will be a major point of contention in the upcoming extraordinary Diet session in September in view of strong opposition within the opposition camp. The daily projected that parliamentary approval may not be easy to obtain, as the opposition is set to demand that former TPP Minister Amari testify in the Diet over an influence-peddling scandal. Mainichi said GOJ officials are anxious to pass the TPP legislation at an early date so as to pressure the Obama administration to redouble its efforts to win congressional approval.