Japanese Communist Party (JCP) Diet member Yoshiko Kira revealed at the House of Councillors special committee on the TPP on Dec. 1 that the U.S. is forcing Japan to deregulate risky aluminum food additives.
Kira voiced the criticism that Japan does not have standards for the use of these additives, in the first place. In a letter exchanged between the Japanese and U.S. governments before the basic TPP agreement was reached, the two sides “affirmed that [Japan] will implement in good faith the cabinet decision of July 10, 2012 to complete the procedures for certification as food additives within one year or so.” She pointed out that Japan had committed to deregulate four aluminum additives that were not permitted to be used in the country.
Kira asked: “Why did Japan have to meet the U.S.’s demand?”
Minister of Health, Labor, and Welfare Yasuhisa Shiozaki answered: “This was the affirmation of a previous cabinet decision and not a new commitment.”
Kira followed up with: “The cabinet decision of 2012 itself was made at the U.S.’s demand.”
Shiozaki could only reply that, “Japan will decide on how to handle (aluminum additives) based on scientific evidence.”
Kira also pointed out that in its 2016 report on foreign trade barriers, the USTR stated that Japan must “follow expedited certification procedures,” pressing for the approval of the four aluminum additives.
Kira further asked: “Will the U.S. not make stronger demands for deregulation of food additives in future bilateral negotiations?”
Shiozaki said: “Japan’s policy of maintaining its own standards to ensure food safety remains unchanged.” (Abridged)