By Kazunuki Oizumi, professor emeritus at Miyagi University
It is commendable that the Japan-U.S. joint statement includes the phrase “outcomes related to market access as reflected in Japan’s previous economic partnership agreements constitute the maximum level” even though the American agricultural sector is clamoring for Japan to open its market. I thought the United States would be extremely worried that it will be the “sole loser” in beef and other products if the 11-member Trans-Pacific Partnership comes into force and so would enter the conversation [with Japan] brandishing a more hardline stance.
Some Japanese farmers may express concerns in the tariff negotiations with the United States, saying: “Are we to open our doors to the United States in addition to the EPA with the European Union and the TPP 11?” Since 2015, though, the government has disbursed subsidies on the order of hundreds of billions of yen as a countermeasure to the TPP that included the United States. Farmers should work harder to raise productivity and expand exports.