politics

Abe says TPP would be 'meaningless' without U.S.

57 Comments
By LUIS ANDRES HENAO

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Hmm. Recent events make the butter shortage in Japan seem rather trivial.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Abe says TPP would be 'meaningless' without U.S.

Mr. Abe, it is you who made the TPP meaningless. It is your administration which derailed the TPP and turned it into something it was never supposed to be. It was Japan that completely restarted and resteered the negotiations the minute it entered into talks. And it is Japan's unwillingness to give any ground that caused the postponement of the ratification of the TPP due to the morphing of the TPP from a free trade agreement to a frankenstein trade agreement that really no one could accept.

So if you are upset at the failure of the TPP take a look in the mirror and blame the fool you see looking back at you. You are responsible for the failure of the TPP. But I have no doubt that you will try to blame it on the Trump administration. Now while I am certainly not one to support Trump, I have to give credit where credit is due. He is absolutely right to denounce this BS trade agreement. Abe, you are a fool. You made the TPP one of the hallmarks of your administration and immediately went about sabotaging it from the get go by playing hardball with the other negotiators, eventually destroying what chance they could have had for a decent agreement. You havent secured the TPP, nor have you been successful with the EU trade agreement either. All you know how to do is print more money and raise taxes and prices on an already helpless Japanese public.

You are the worst PM in this nation's post war history.

15 ( +27 / -12 )

Where is Amari Japan's top TPP negotiator, what does he say? whereabouts unknown ?!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Ally Rustom

I would hardly blame the failure of the TPP on Abe. All the other 11 nations and the Obama administration were in favor of the TPP. Trump has derailed it. I think this will give China impetus to create its own version of the TPP.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

From a purely strategic standpoint, Trump is 100% correct about TPP. The fact that the Asian TPP countries are basically an ununified mess and don't actually want to open trade with eachother unless the US is involved shows that America is the only prize on offer here. The US will not only be able to negotiate much more advantageous deals with each country bilaterally, but it will also give them much more leverage and flexibility to control trade across the entireity of Asia and the Pacific by making demands of their bilateral partners. It's really as simple as divide and conquer.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Recent events make the butter shortage in Japan seem rather trivial.

Thanks, Laguna, that made my day. Of course, I can laugh since I'm just back from Costco, where they had domestic AND imported butter in quantity.

It's certainly gratifying to see Abe in panic mode, but U.S. protectionism is not going to bring back U.S. jobs, no matter how Trump tries to sell it.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Well, you knew it is a risky gamble very long time ago, Mr.Abe

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The answer is simple, change the letters to PTA (Pacific Trade Agreement). No one can say no to the PTA in Japan.

The PTA can have everyone in the Pacific who wants to be a part, including China, but not the US, then negotiate a separate trade agreement with the US.

If I were Abe, I'd cash in a couple trillion USD of US treasuries and bring it back to Japan. They were bought as a trade off for market access to the US. If that access is cut off, sell them off.

Trump and the US will be crapping in their pants. If you're going to play hardball, Japan can too.

Please read this fast, because it's going to be censored and deleted.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

This may involve pursuing regional free trade agreements. This will improve relations between neighboring countries, especially Japan and China. You don't need U.S. in the trade negotiations.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The PTA can have everyone in the Pacific who wants to be a part, including China, but not the US, then negotiate a separate trade agreement with the US.

I'm wondering if with the election of trump, more and more countries won't start negotiating around the US.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Well "meaningless" is better than "harmful"....besides Trump doesn't care much what Abe thinks.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

bruinfanNOV. 22, 2016 - 05:41PM JST Well "meaningless" is better than "harmful"....besides Trump doesn't care much what Abe thinks.

Do Abe care what Trump thinks about what is good for poor citizens of U.S.? I doubt it. Trump should focus more on priority of middle and poor class of U.S.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I'm wondering if with the election of trump, more and more countries won't start negotiating around the US.

I think it will be the other way around.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

onedragon NOV. 22, 2016 - 05:59PM JST I think it will be the other way around.

Why? U.S. is still be biggest trade partner. Why should they stoop so low?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

You are the worst PM in this nation's post war history.

I disagree. He works hard. To me, I don't care how many times he might fail, but I do care how much he tried, and he succeeded. It is far better than sitting there just commplaining just as opposition parties do.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

hachikouNOV. 22, 2016 - 06:04PM JST He is the guy who decided to pay a compensation for Korean former comfort women, even though the case was already settled in 1965.

The settlement did not cover the comfort women issue.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

For those who say this opens the door for China, I doubt it. Just like the US, why would an economy as big as China be interested in becoming just another member of a larger multilateral trade pact? China will negotiate its own bilateral trade deals like the US simply because it's in their interest and they also have the power to do so.

Think about how strategically foolish it is for the US to tie itself into the rigid structure of the TPP. Under the agreement, the US would not be allowed to offer preferential treatment to strategic allies or punish those who are acting against its interests. Imagine that all the interested countries like Indonesia, Colombia and the Phillipines eventually become members, and someone like Rodrigo Duterte comes along. If the US has a bilateral deal with each country, the US can simply cancel it and watch the exodus of foreign companies and the newly unemployed rioters protest in the streets against the government. However, if the US is just one of over a dozen members of the TPP, they have zero leverage unless they themselves decide to withdraw from the agreement, which would likely implode the entire TPP and harm both friends and foes. The US gains tremendous flexibility and power by staying out of TPP, and they are one of the few countries with a large enough economy to be able to afford this luxury.

The TPP always struck me as more of an exercise in cultural and social justice where the US would allow insignificant countries to sit at the table and pretend they were jointly making the rules for global trade. For better or worse, Trump seems to have brought everyone back down to reality. The US is going to dicate the terms and these countries can take them or leave them on a bilateral basis. It's the same strategy China will follow.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The settlement did not cover the comfort women issue.

because it is a newly created issue. Besides the settlement says it covers ALL issues.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

A bad week for Abe! Mein Trumpf has put the kibosh on TPP.

After all the money he gave to Russia, Putin has said there is no chance of getting the disputed islands back so they remain technically at war.

Then today a very close shave with another huge earthquake near the Dai Ichi Fukushima nuclear power plant and Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) John Coates is in Japan.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

It's the same strategy China will follow.

China has RCEP in which Japan is a member. Do you think China will leave?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Without fundamental reform and restructuring of J agriculture. Comprehensive transformation of tax, and a realignment of the employment market across a whole range of sectors, TPP would have been economically disastrous locking in years of ruinous subsidies to even the playing field.

Abe san is indeed Japan’s most powerful leader in a decade. However this doesn't excuse the fact that without a competent opposition to debate the fact that TPP economic advantages for Japans participation, are baseless, flawed and unsubstantiated. A lucky escape.....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

itsonlyrocknrollNOV. 22, 2016 - 06:48PM JST Without fundamental reform and restructuring of J agriculture.

Japan has it's own shares of problem and they are hesitant on problems of TPP agreement. In a few years, Japan government farm subsidies will be eliminated and most of these older farmers has to learn to survive on their own. I am not sure if the criticism of Japan is warranted for not importing enough agricultural products. Japan already imports 60 percent of its food supply from other countries and food safety is a sensitive issue. By comparison, the U.S. imports about a tenth of its food supply and tests less than 1 percent of shipments. Sure, Japan could import cheaper California rice, but what about rural farmers in Japan that will no longer will be able compete and survive on farming. Then what? Bankrupt farmers will be asking the government for more handouts. The J-government's future plans are to maintain stability of farmers in their own country first.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Funny, but it was Abe who made TPP meaningless by changing it from a free trade agreement to a crony-capitalist agreement. By creating exclusions to agricultural products (and all TPP members but Japan are major agricultural producers), he insured the LDP power formula (buying the rural votes with money collected from tariffs charged to the 98% of us who are not farmers), would remain in place, and got lower tariffs on Japanese finished goods.

America is right to get out, and other countries would be wise to do the same thing. I hope they have already cashed the checks Japan Inc's lobbyists wrote out to them.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@tinawatanabe

China has RCEP in which Japan is a member. Do you think China will leave?

I don't think many people are very optimistic about RCEP to begin with (It's not nearly as comprehensive as TPP), but whether China might pull the plug is an interesting question. The wheels have somewhat fallen off the Chinese economy and protectionism is rife compared to when negotiations began. The problem with Asia seems to be that nobody wants to open up their markets. India, China and South Korea are probably the worst offenders.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The only people the TPP would have benefitted would have been the ultra rich ultra right wing that Abe sucks up to.

Methinks Abe ought to start learning Mandarin Chinese!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Mein Trumpf

Disgraceful.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Hi sfjp330, Yes no ding dong from me, that's the bottom line.

On Sunday morning at our yearly community fire and first aid training seminar in Ino town, Kochi, most attendees were small holding agri-rural producers dependent on a range of Government subsidies and JA's distribution network.

Immensely proud of their heritage, not one under the age of 60. This is there life. Politically unthinkable, but sooner or later change will come.

Japan's food self-sufficiency ratio factor will come into play. There producers will feel like they have been thrown under tram. Reform and restructure must be managed sensitively. TPP is a blunt instrument, a crude act of cruelty.

Besides these agricultural cooperatives are well organized and have political clout.

I am already acquainted with most, but all knew my name and my businesses even though some I had never met. Cross these farmers and the wicker man will seem akin to Mary Poppins.......

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It has been hit on the head by Trump which he has just announced as President Elect, Stating sometime about a Presidential decree. It on You Tube. Talk is a bilateral trade deal between Japan and America favoring Japan better then the TTP will be on table in the near future.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Severely impressed with rockandroll. used to live in Kochi..

Trump speaks about patriots? the Japanese are REAL patriots of the finest order, those old farmers especially. But those grandpa's will be utterly amazed in 10 or 15 years when their grandchildren get the cannicure and start organic farming, not to speak of the countless city kids who will flood the mountainsides in search of a plot of land and SATORI...well, maybe true nirvana seekers will take a few more decades...

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Mr. Abe, it is you who made the TPP meaningless. for that I have to agree, now Japan is stuck in the position of being at a disadvantage to countries that have FTA with the US, most notably South Korea, Japan will have to negotiate a FTA directly with Trump and believe me much of the farming protections Japan insisted on will be non-existant in a bilateral FTA. SO its once again whether Abe is willing to sacrifice the 1% for the benefit of the other 99%. If I was a J farmer I wouldn't be celebrating too soon, this roller-coaster is far from over.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well, if the Japanese hadn't used the usual Japanese tactic of delaying the agreement for years on end until everyone else finally gave up and said okay to Japan's protectionist demands, the TPP would have been signed and sealed years ago while Obama had the power to do it. There is really nothing in the final TPP agreement for America. It would have meant more unfettered access to US markets at the cost of more US jobs, with nothing much offered in return from multi-layered protectionist countries like Japan. And it was all done to protect the aging Japanese farmers, because Abe relies on the wonky vote from rural Japan to repeatedly return his government. So having done all he could to prevaricate and remove as much free trade as possible from the agreement, Abe has made sure the agreement will never be signed. Trump has been elected on a ticket of protecting America's interests. This is his first act. I dislike him, but I completely agree with him about scuppering TPP. There is nothing in this for America.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Hey Mr.Abe, you are telling the world Japan can't do a damn thing if without the U.S. backing! What a shame! By the way paying the expensive bills for U.S. armed forces in Japan is inevitable, Trump is a business man and he might sold out anything that he sees is irrelevant with his own issue.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Why couldn't Abe read the runes and not waste taxpayer money to get it approved the other day?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

elephant200

I don't think you understand how complicated the situation Japan has. Yes, Mr Abe wants Japan to live along with the U.S.

Since WW2, China and Korea don't want Japan to arm itself and they want japan to stay as the country with no military but only Self Defence Force.

How can Japan help to stop conflicts or war in other countries when owining no military? Stand along with the.U.S as assistance is one of the answers. Mr.Abe want Japan-US alliance to be strong.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

You've got to hand it to Donald.... he just straight out strengthened his bargaining ability with on TPP. Although, that said, Abe said the deal could not be renegotiated... which shows that Abe believes that Trump's move might have been only to get better leverage. A lot of people were against TPP from the beginning and it has not been implemented yet... so if any of you out there is complaining or crying foul... why?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am grateful to American people elected Donald Trump for president of U.S.

Take the opportunity and change article 9, the next president can be a democrat again.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Abe is tellin the truth for the first time!

Bravo!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

For the first time since World War II, Japanese peacekeepers arrived in South Sudan on Monday with a mandate allowing them to use force to protect civilians.

They forgot to take Abe with them! Now IF Abe went, and something unfortunate happened, all this discussion about the TPP would be moot.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You are the worst PM in this nation's post war history.

You lived somewhere else before you came to Japan 15yrs ago and you didnot care what happened in Japn did you? Lol.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Well, Abe's not wrong. Google "List of the largest trading partners of Japan", #1 and #2 are China and US at $120+ billion. Next is South Korea at $51 billion. With the US not in, that's like watching the match for the bronze medal, cat videos are way more entertaining.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan needs more open trade. As a Japanese I am disappointing with only having a choice between poor quality Australian beef and very very expensive wagyu. We also need more imported dairy such as nice cheese from around the world without tariffs. Unfortunately we are terrible at producing cheese. We also need to to make sure that our yen remains relatively strong so that imports can be more affordable and stop relying on an export economy.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@tiger_tanaka... got to agree with regarding cheese! Terrible!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

tiger_tanaka,

Unfortunately we are terrible at producing cheese.

That may be true for most of Japan, but in Okinawa there is EXCELLENT cheese!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

That may be true for most of Japan, but in Okinawa there is EXCELLENT cheese!

Unfortunately I'm in Tokyo. Whenever I go abroad I load up on 8kg of cheese to bring back to Japan. Most of my suitcase is cheese.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

He does not want to insuult US. What he means must be US technology growth ii's as good as Japan's.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You are the worst PM in this nation's post war history.

Except for all the previous ones. But seriously Aly, is Abe really so bad? He seems to do reasonably well in the popularity charts. To me, he seems more in touch with normal people than his predecessors.

@itsonlyrockandroll

Great post. Not sure I completely agree you, but the agriculture/rural sector is of great importance. The thoughts and influence of those over-60s' children may be more important than those of their parents. Why were't they at the fire and first aid training?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

tiger_tanaka: Unfortunately I'm in Tokyo. Whenever I go abroad I load up on 8kg of cheese to bring back to Japan. Most of my suitcase is cheese.

USA will be happy to sell you our secret recipe for 'American process cheese'.

Or for 'US Government Cheese'.

But not Velveeta, that's proprietary.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan needs more open trade. As a Japanese I am disappointing with only having a choice between poor quality Australian beef and very very expensive wagyu. We also need more imported dairy such as nice cheese from around the world without tariffs. Unfortunately we are terrible at producing cheese.

Excellent point and I totally agree.

That may be true for most of Japan, but in Okinawa there is EXCELLENT cheese!

Really, Been to Okinawa a dozen times, I really didn't think so, not at all.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Do Abe care (sic) what Trump thinks about what is good for poor citizens of U.S.?

To answer your question...almost certainly not (i.e. I agree with that point)....and no I didn't vote for Trump so let's all be clear on that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How can Japan help to stop conflicts or war in other countries when owining no military?

And when did Japan take up the mantle of world police? Not working for the us at the moment. This is all a slight of hand meant to slowly massage the memories of the terror visited upon the world by Japan. Give them an inch...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

sfjp330 I am not sure if the criticism of Japan is warranted for not importing enough agricultural products. Japan already imports 60 percent of its food supply from other countries and food safety is a sensitive issue.

Food safety is not an issue when it involves Japanese companies mislabelling or passing of fake food as something. Japan might be importing 60 percent but that doesn't change the fact that importation is highly regulated, expensive and short on variety all in the name of maintaining food safety.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Abe is saying US, not Japan. other Asian countries are eager to trade with Japan. US need to product merchandise Asians will bye. They are not interested in cheese to make their people constipated every day.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The USA will get left behind in dumping TPP, the population of the TPP trading group is large, America is destined to become the new world Spain a once huge trading nation that gathered wealth without effort,now tethered to Europe.As American states are now tethered, to The Wilms of the Donald Trump.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would hardly blame the failure of the TPP on Abe.

I would.

I disagree. He works hard.

Sure. For his paymasters

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan's food self-sufficiency ratio factor will come into play. There producers will feel like they have been thrown under tram.

Big Jagra has been throwing the Japanese consumer and taxpayer under the tram long enough.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

drluciferNOV. 23, 2016 - 06:24PM JST Japan might be importing 60 percent but that doesn't change the fact that importation is highly regulated, expensive and short on variety all in the name of maintaining food safety.

What is your suggestion of change?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Iif U.S. is still pushing, Abe has tool order to entire Japanese to stop eating short grain rice and eat Southern zAmerican long brain rice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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