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No TPP

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Farmers shout slogans at a rally against Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks in Tokyo on Wednesday. The farmers demanded that the Japanese government steer clear of a U.S.-led free trade initiative which would open the heavily protected agricultural sector to fierce competition.

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A small but powerful crowd !

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selfishness and greed is what drives these people,the world is not just about them.

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Let the rest of the world leave Japan behind! South Korea can take it's place as an electronics exporter and the Japanese can shut themselves back into the glory days of Edo!

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If their product is any good, hopefully people will have common sense and not buy a crappier product...

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"Keep paying us to do nothing!" "Keep allowing us to overcharge and rip off customers!"

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Maehara

‘(By not joining the TPP) aren’t we sacrificing much of the 98.5 percent (of the economy that isn’t primary industry) for the 1.5 percent that is?

The man say what the majority think.

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Many Japanese insist on buying Japanese, so these farmers have nothing to worry about. I personally want the choice to be able to buy cheaper products. They can start by reducing the whopping tax imposed on foreign rice. Nothing wrong with foreign rice.

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NuckinFutz at 08:24 AM JST - 11th November Let the rest of the world leave Japan behind! South Korea can take it's place as an electronics exporter and the Japanese can shut themselves back into the glory days of Edo!

First of all, S. Korea already exports more electronics than does Japan, but is actually in the exact same situation as Japan with 43% of its economy based on exports - unsustainable and the S. Korean economy has stalled in the last two years because of this unable to raise domestic consumption due to lower wages (China's position for the foreseeable future as well).

Second, these are farmers protesting, so they couldn't give a rat's ass about electronics, and I agree with them completely. The Japanese government has failed miserably in it's non-efforts to rationalized Japanese agriculture, which has always been classified as "intensive gardening." Until as many Japanese farms as possible mechanize and better resemble farms on Hokkaido, Japan's food vulnerability will only worsen.

Japan did not import vegetables from China until the last decade or so. A rather scary position to be in given their fractious relationship and China's poor quality control for fresh and processed foods.

The U.S. may want more of the agricultural market, but other than processed foods with long shelf life (that can be shipped by boat), it will not get much more share of the Japanese food market than it has now.

Over time, no country benefits from a completely open agricultural sector, especially if it increases dependency on imported food.

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Something about farmers, pigs back, too long comes to mind, if the govt protected and subsidised my business and was thinking of stopping doing it I would be up in arms too. But it's about time these farmers lived worked and played in the real world, compete on a world stage everyone has to.

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selfishness and greed is what drives these people,the world is not just about them.

Yeh, but what about the greed of the corporations trying to peddle cheap subsidized food. No greed there? This will just increase the food dependency in Japan so that when there is a crisis, either economically, or due to some conflict, we can no longer depend on those imports. Uh, news flash guys! You do NOT make farms and farmers overnight! It just doesn't happen. There are real skills and farmland has to then be rehabilitated, or taken back from the weeds and forest that were allowed to form because it went by the wayside due to globalism. And just how safe is that food too? When Nafco got started, I remember watching tomatoes that were being grown next to a factory in Mexico, using that precious waste water as water is kind of scarce. No worry! The tomatoes were going to the US and we don't need no flippin regulations about food safety. So, right-wingers, you whine incessantly about protection but I wonder how you would be if the government allowed even more globalization, importing Indians or Filipinos to do the work that you are doing for pennies on the dollar. I bet you would scream like pigs! It ain't fair. When you are tossed out, it becomes a problem. Not when someone else is. Amazing insight here!

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jeffery

Over time, no country benefits from a completely open agricultural sector, especially if it increases dependency on imported food.

That's completely wrong. Japan would benefit totally from food imports without tariffs. They pay through the nose already for rice. If Japan's agriculture isn't efficient (which it obviously isn't) then import from countries that are.

Dependency on foreign food is a fact of life in Japan. The amount of dependency is only academic.

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60% of foods are imported into Japan. These rice and daikon farmers should get a real job!

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this bunch looks near retirement. I think an AKB48 poster should be somewhere with Beastie Boys "fight for your right" crankin to attract real attention...

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These farmers can't expect to operate under a protectionist scheme forever, can they? I am sick of my tax dollars going to farmers. There has got to be a better way.

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Dependency on foreign food is a fact of life in Japan. The amount of dependency is only academic.

It won't be so flippin academic when those food imports STOP and you're starving.

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I am sick of my tax dollars going to farmers. There has got to be a better way.

How about food imports from China?! Does that ring a bell? Um....gyoza. And what about that poisoned tofu. Or vegetable oil that was actually motor oil. I will take my expensive safe Japanese food any time of the day. You guys can eat all of that poisoned stuff and good luck with those cancer treatments!!!!!

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I'm only interested in eating good food and have a good life. I work my ass off every day to enjoy a comfortable life. Japanese goods and made in Japan goods are the best and I don't mind paying for them.

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interestingly all protestors in the picture seem to be over 60. think that tells you something about how divorced they are from the real world.

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These are the last of the Mohigans as young Japanese would rather chew tinfoil than farm. But watch these guys resort to the rallying cry of "Special Japanese Farming Tradition" a la the whalers to try and arouse nationalist sympathies. TheRat - thanks for my morning laugh, Chicken Little!

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A lot of ignorance being posted here, sure j-agriculture needs changes EVERYONE in Jpn knows that but the govt wont do anything, so when these type talks come up of course farmers feel like they are about to be sold down the damned river! What the hell do you expect!

In case you dont know farmers are not in control of pricing stuff(except for a bit they are allowed to sell locally), that is controlled by JA, lot of farmers want more control in this area but arent being allowed to do so.

As I pointed out in another thread a real killer for a lot of industry here is Jpns internal transportation costs, hint they are BLOODY EXPENSIVE. You cant just load a 10ton ogata truck in Chiba & make a delivery in down town Tokyo, it probably goes to the edge of Tokyo unloaded into smaller trucks, mixed with other kinds of produce, finally gets to the store/mom & pop place in the city, guess what folks the rent down there aint cheap! Factor all this in & it gets costly quick & a hell of a lot of it IS NOT IN FARMERS CONTROL!

And to the fools who think farmers are lazy(haha they are easily the fittest people in Jpn) or greedy( haha not many are rich but most do enjoy a bit of space), you need to pay better attention to whats what simple as that.

In Sept I bought 30kgs of koshihikari for Y7000 thats about Y235/kg from the source, by the time the same rice gets to Tokyo you will be paying more than double that, and that folks aint the farmers doing!

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interestingly all protestors in the picture seem to be over 60. think that tells you something about how divorced they are from the real world.

Yes!! That's it! What BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT insight. Anyone over 60 is loopy. Divorced from reality. Stupid! They are stupid! The young people of this world know FAR MORE than them! They have read more books and experieced so much more! I mean, HOW DARE these farmers fight for their profession! Same with people in Unions! HOW DARE they ask for a living wage! Getting uppty! Slaves need to know how to stay DOWN!

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TheRat - thanks for my morning laugh, Chicken Little!

Yeh, when you die, I will stop buy and bid on your stuff! LOL! Eat the garbage now! All of those imports are safe! Really!

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GW, yep! You are right. Need to get rid of the flippin tolls. Even with imports, the food might end up costing the same. Don't get it though. Transporting food across the Pacific, will be CHEAPER than home grown stuff? Really? Wonder how long that will last, as gas and diesel will go higher and higher. Right-wingers fail, ALWAYS, to see the bigger picture.

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Transporting food across the Pacific, will be CHEAPER than home grown stuff? Really?

Even now, stuff like broccoli from the US is cheaper in the supermarkets than home-grown, local broccoli. Apparently it's transported at not-quite-freezing temperatures to keep it fresh, which surely can't be cheap. I prefer the genuinely fresh stuff.

to the fools who think farmers are ..... greedy( haha not many are rich

In my little rural town, the farmers are easy to spot. They're the ones in the big houses bursting with expensive works of art and enough electrical appliances to blow a fuse on the national grid, two or three cars in the garage, designer handbags for the missus, brand-name togs and trips to Europe/America two or three times a year. Granted, they also tend to have wrinkled, suntanned faces and mothers bent in half.

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They're the ones in the big houses bursting with expensive works of art and enough electrical appliances to blow a fuse on the national grid, two or three cars in the garage, designer handbags for the missus, brand-name togs and trips to Europe/America two or three times a year. Granted, they also tend to have wrinkled, suntanned faces and mothers bent in half.

Probably earned it. I don't think I would last a day doing this work! And I have stuff too. No need to get jealous about farmers having a good life. What? They should live like rats? They provide food for us to eat, so I want to make sure that they don't wake up one day and say screw it and do something else. These people are more useful than some traders in Tokyo who have the same stuff but PRODUCE nothing.

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In any case, people like you who are afraid of your own shadow tend not to live too long. Excess worrying causes cancer.

Yeh, looking at the big picture and preparing for it, is sooooo flippin insane. No worry here! I have a huge garden and friends who are farmers who give me food. You are the one who should worry. Maybe your situation ain't so secure.

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TheRat - Not saying they don't earn it, just contesting the claim that they're 'not rich'. Another fact that shouldn't be ignored is that unlike your average salaryman, they can more or less decide for themselves how much they pay in tax. By they time they've deducted for all family 'employees' and other 'expenses', on paper many of them are in the red.

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GW at 10:17 AM JST - 11th November

And to the fools who think farmers are lazy(haha they are easily the fittest people in Jpn

My brother is a buddhist monk, he told me these:

Why you are working in a factory? After a religious ceremony farmers invited me to eat, they expended most of the rest of the day chatting and drinking beer. To think that there is such a relaxed life in Japan.

The busiest seasons for farmers are sowing and harvest. The rest of the year they take care of animals and watch the grass grow.

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A poll in the Daily Yomiuri newspaper had more than 60 per cent of respondents favouring Japan joining the TPP and only 18 per cent against.

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Farming in Japan is a joke, like most of their industries. Has to be protected or wouldn't last 5 min. I resent my tax money going towards maintaining their inefficient production model.

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Those who fear or loath competition usually have been conditioned lazy.

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Japanese goods and made in Japan goods are the best and I don't mind paying for them.

Nice Japano-phile sentiments! Seriously, markets should be opened up and way more competitive - I want access to eating more Aussie/American/Kiwi fruit/veges/grains etc. To make a blanket statement that "Japanese goods (and produce) are the best" - at whatever price - is just showing ignorance.

Farming in Japan is largely a dying art - the youngesters just don't want to do it, it is sadly not seen as a "glamourous" job. Poor old hunched over grandmothers/fathers are the only ones toiling the fields when I walk around rural parts of my town.

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Maybe if they didn't charge stupid prices for Japanese(R) fruit and vegetables they wouldn't have to worry about cheap foreign produce.

Japanese goods and made in Japan goods are the best and I don't mind paying for them.

"Japanese goods and made in Japan goods" aren't "The Best", they're just portrayed as "The Best" to try and justify the high prices. By your logic, Japanese wines are better than French or Italian wines. Which is so wrong it's not even funny.

In other countries foreign produce is cheaper than domestic. Japan is the other way around. They need to change that, especially if they go ahead with the planned rise to 10% on sales tax.

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Seriously, markets should be opened up and way more competitive

Maybe the Japanese government should open the market and let in hordes of Indians that can do what you do BurakuminDes for a TENTH of what you charge. Bet you would howl! In this world, it is the race to the bottom---what is the price of low prices if it ends up getting us unemployed or having wages so low that the low prices have no meaning? Yeh, that free market globalism is working out real good in Haiti and Mexico where all of the sugar and corn farmers are starving and heading to America! In short, you might have low prices today, but sooner or later this ship the food to Japan gig will collapse and then it will be skyrocketing prices!

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Maybe the Japanese government should open the market and let in hordes of Indians that can do what you do BurakuminDes for a TENTH of what you charge

This actually did happen to me, the Rat! 10 years ago my (crappy) bank job was outsourced to India! We have to accept global economics - and move with the times. As long as the quality is there, competition in produce - and everything really - offers more variety and cheaper prices. Protectionism is dying, thankfully.

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A lot of ignorance being posted here

GW -- spot on, and your post is part of that. First off, transportation costs are not why rice is so high here -- the 700%+ tarriff is. Same with butter, meat, wheat, etc. Second, as an excellent op ed piece in yesterday's Daily Yomiuri, by a genteleman named Maruyama-san pointed out, the aveage farm here in Japan is like 1.5 hectacres, where in Austalia it is nearly 40. So, the farmers here may not be "lazy", but they sure are inefficient per yen invested in propping them up. Finally, as I stated yesterday, and Maruyama-san indicates as well, given the age of Japanese farmers, all these tariffs and support payments are just basically a disquised welfare program. It is high time Japan stopped simply rewarding inefficiency and got serious about agricultural policy.

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I think the Japanese have great buyers of foreign veggies and fruits. Always taste great no matter what part of the world they come from. I go to Florida a lot and I cannot ever get a decent orange there or grape fruit...and can never get other veggies etc. that have taste. But those same veggies or fruit with the name grown in America on it are wonderful here in Japan. Why?

Well trained buyers!

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my (crappy) bank job was outsourced to India! We have to accept global economics - and move with the times. As long as the quality is there, competition in produce - and everything really - offers more variety and cheaper prices. Protectionism is dying, thankfully.

Better get ready to move then again Buraboy, because you might find yourself outsourced again and again and again! And each time, you get a new job, IF you get a new job at a new wage, you just keep telling yourself, HOW GREAT IT IS THAT PROTECTIONISM is dying! And when you are slowing starving to death, because the wages are so low, you just keep telling yourself that! The big picture boys, is that food shipments by plane and boat are a BAD BAD idea. Sooner or later that diesel is going to GET REALLY expensive, and so will that food! And geez, you will want these ole geezers (farmers) back at any price then. But, understanding the big picture for you right-wingers because, frankly, you all live for just today!! The future....ah, golly shucks, will take care of itself. Or maybe the Sky God will come down and rapture me up to heaven.

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But, understanding the big picture for you right-wingers

Should have said...understanding the big picture is SO HARD for you. Better watch it, as I might be outsourced!

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gw

to the fools who think farmers are ..... greedy( haha not many are rich

cleo

In my little rural town, the farmers are easy to spot. They're the ones in the big houses bursting with expensive works of art and enough electrical appliances to blow a fuse on the national grid, two or three cars in the garage, designer handbags for the missus, brand-name togs and trips to Europe/America two or three times a year. Granted, they also tend to have wrinkled, suntanned faces and mothers bent in half.

Cleo, kinda surprised hearing this from you, as I said some farmers are rich(same as any other group) but many arent, and lots of those houses have been around a while & used by serveral generations, a good thing. And you know what I too live in a nice big house in Jpn, more like a cottage actually, year round, its truly great, I love it!!! You what my friends say when they come to visit, oh gw you are so rich blah blah blah, but when we compare the cost of my place to their little mansions in the city, guess what, my place is typically 40-50% CHEAPER than Tokyo. So moral of that story is just because its big doesnt mean it cost a lot.

And I am at the airport all the time & I rarely see people who I wud guess were farmers & certainly not sporting all the brand gear the farmers have in yr neck of the woods

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The busiest seasons for farmers are sowing and harvest. The rest of the year they take care of animals and watch the grass grow.

mareo2, surprised at yr comment too, clearly you dont know much about farming, not that anyone other than farmers need to but......There is a whole lot more happening than just planting & picking, where I am in Chiba farmers can grow & harvest year round. Yeah sure up north or in more mountainous areas its different but I can tell you with confidence there is ALWAYS something that needs done on a farm.

Heck many people in Jpn cudnt even handle keeping the weeds at bay let alone do any actual farming.

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when we compare the cost of my place to their little mansions in the city, guess what, my place is typically 40-50% CHEAPER than Tokyo. So moral of that story is just because its big doesnt mean it cost a lot.

As you say, a lot of the farmhouses have been handed down the generations. I'm not saying their houses are bigger than more expensive places in Tokyo (who would want to live in Tokyo??) but bigger than yer average house in this rural town, ie comparing like with like.

As for the foreign holidays, maybe they're all scrubbed up and in their travelling togs at the airport so's you wouldn't recognise them as farmers; but I've had my fair share of omiyage from local farming friends and acquaintances who have been on yet another trip to Europe.

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GW -- spot on, and your post is part of that. First off, transportation costs are not why rice is so high here -- the 700%+ tarriff is. Same with butter, meat, wheat, etc. Second, as an excellent op ed piece in yesterday's Daily Yomiuri, by a genteleman named Maruyama-san pointed out, the aveage farm here in Japan is like 1.5 hectacres, where in Austalia it is nearly 40. So, the farmers here may not be "lazy", but they sure are inefficient per yen invested in propping them up. Finally, as I stated yesterday, and Maruyama-san indicates as well, given the age of Japanese farmers, all these tariffs and support payments are just basically a disquised welfare program. It is high time Japan stopped simply rewarding inefficiency and got serious about agricultural policy.

herefornow, I agree with all you said above, while farmers are definitely in favor of high duty rates for rice, meat etc and farms are small etc etc, again thats not news everyone knows about, but the real problem is the govt, they tie the hands of the farmers & then the govt controls the prices that feed into the market & then the truckers, distributors, big stores, tiny stores, combinis all add there bit before we can buy so the farmers cant do anything until the govt frees them up to do so. That said many probably most wont want to, I know.......the issues of land ownership alone will be a major pita to solve so more farms can increase in size etc

The biggest problem is in the 20yrs I have been here nothing has really happened, no one will make the first move

Its got to change, I truly think the govt is waitng for farmers to die off & then you see major land reforms etc but I predict thats 10-20yrs off & the govt is desperately trying to buy time with the rest of the world, imo the you know what will hit the fan before that I wud guess.

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The biggest problem is in the 20yrs I have been here nothing has really happened, no one will make the first move

I've been here for more than 40 years and nothing has happened :-)

Land distribution/ ownership really IS a big mess in this country.

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Domestic farming is a national security issue for every country. If local farmers are destroyed by the huge American mega-farming corporations - Japan would lose the ability to provide food to its masses without international interference.

Also - we've purchased products directly from Japanese co-ops - their quality control, service, and products are top-grade - better than most supermarkets. Love those guys - yes we pay a premium - but factor in time, convenience, parking, gas - it kind of washes out.

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Agriculture is not only a part of a country's culture ; it is a strategical asset. Any country should protect his autonomy to feed his people. Looking only for lower prices is a short term view. In Europe, the same people are successively struggling to get the lowest prices in hypermarkets and crying against unemployment. When you have destroyed a part of your economy (either agriculture or branches of your industries) it will take a long time to build it up again.

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the agriculture & fisheries industries are just selfish welfare industries, they account for about 1% of GDP but they consume more than 5% of the annual budget 5trillion yen in tax payer subsidies.

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