All national papers reported on the House of Representatives’ approval yesterday of GOJ-sponsored legislation to effectuate the U.S.-Japan agreements on goods and digital trade, saying that the opposition bloc is determined to derail the legislation at the Upper House on the grounds that the Abe administration has failed to provide evidence that the U.S. is committed to removing its existing tariffs on Japanese auto imports. While the opposition camp also remains highly critical of what it calls Japan’s unilateral concessions on agricultural trade, the administration and the ruling coalition are determined to enact the bills during the current Diet session so that they can go into effect in January.
Sankei, Yomiuri, and Nikkei separately highlighted the bill on the digital trade accord, focusing on the two governments’ commitment to protecting against forced disclosure of encryption technology. The papers explained that the provision shows that the two nations are apparently eager to rein in China’s digital protectionism because it is designed to prevent government intervention into data distribution. While explaining that the U.S. and Japan are alarmed by the growing presence of Chinese tech giants in digital commerce, Nikkei added that the bilateral pact also stipulates that anti-trust authorities may intervene in digital trade in response to business monopolies and violation of customer privacy.