The implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact, which was concluded before the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, is still up in the air. But Japan has already started to spend 657.5 billion yen that was set aside for TPP-related measures. One of these measures is a subsidy to livestock farmers to invest in breeding facilities. This is raising concerns about pork-barreling.
The TPP initially sparked among domestic farmers fears of an influx of agricultural and livestock products from the U.S. But the U.S. withdrew from the trade deal after President Donald Trump took office. Though there is little chance of U.S. beef and pork dominating the Japanese market for the time being, the Japanese government is already providing the subsidy [for those affected by the TPP].
Tokyo has a bitter memory of agricultural measures in response to trade liberalization in the past. It decided to earmark 6.01 trillion yen to address the partial opening of the rice market following the conclusion of the Uruguay Round trade negotiations in 1993. But the expenditure was criticized as “wasteful” because the cost of developing 49 hot spring facilities across Japan was accidentally included. (Abridged)