A joint deliberation session held on Nov. 7 by the Lower House Committees on Foreign Affairs, on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and on Economy, Trade and Industry highlighted that the Abe government is promoting the Japan-U.S. trade accord by deceiving the people and the Diet. This surfaced through questions raised by Takaaki Tamura, a Japanese Communist Party member, on the elimination of tariffs on Japanese automobiles and autoparts.
Tamura pointed out that [the government] rewrote documents [concerning the Japan-U.S. trade agreement]. A document issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Sept. 26, which does not disclose the main text of the agreement, says that “regarding (the U.S.) automobiles and automobile parts, the ‘elimination of tariffs through further negotiations’ is stated in the tariff schedule of the U.S.” But a document that the ministry released on Oct. 18, after the signing of the agreement, says that the U.S. annex document states the ‘elimination of tariffs’ will be subject to further negotiations.” Tamura made the accusation that the word ‘tariff schedule,’ which shows when tariffs on certain goods will be lowered, was deleted. The tariff schedule of the U.S., which has been already released, makes no mention of automobiles and autoparts.
Tamura argued that the government lied about “including the tariff elimination in the tariff schedule” and criticized the government for deceiving the Diet and the people by making it appear as though tariff elimination had been promised.”
Kazuhisa Shibuya, a senior policy coordinator at the Cabinet Secretariat, defiantly stated that “corrections were made” to the two documents “in accordance with the passage of time.” Meanwhile, he failed to respond to Tamura’s assertion that the tariff schedule does not include automobiles and autoparts. (Abridged)