Gov't may consider concessions on farm products for TPP pact


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Japa has to seriously do something about the cost of food here. The poor people are not going to be able to deal with the cost of things going up AND the new tax - which should not be on food. Japanese farmers need to get with the times and start producing more at lower prices. If they can't do that, move to the side and allow food from abroad in. Fruit is a fine example. I've been buying kiwis, bananas and oranges from abroad. Sorry but 200 yen for an apple is a joke.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

You can't negotiate on the premise that the "tariff lines" won't budge an inch.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Let the customer decide what they want to buy

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Free-trade is a sham that benefits only MNCs and wealthy govt's. the benefits to the poor are meager compared to the profits of those companies. if you wanna save 50 yen on buying an apple shipped half way arounf the world, be my guest, but i'd rather support locally grown food and products.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

TPP and other trade deals are about giving people choices. If you want to buy expensive local stuff you can. If people backin the States want to buy expensive domestic trucks, they can, but neither will be forced to do so anymore.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

What is fair? When there is a big gap in ability, we need advantages, in this case tariffs. Food is the most important in national security. Think of why Japan lost the war.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Japan should not join the TPP to protect its own agriculture. In other words, It perfectly should not depend on other countries food production. If food exporters did stop sending food to Japan due to bad harvest by climate change, no doubt Japanese would face starvation soon. Little higher prices of foods really don't matter as long as they can eat enough their own foods.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

tmarie and Traveling Sales:

I agree! The thing is, most Japanese don't even realize how expensive the fruit and vegetables in Japan are. When they go abroad, they look in disbelief at the cheap produce, but yet don't realize it's not because other countries provide cheap produce, it's because Japanese produce are expensive. If people want to pay bucketfuls for Japanese rice, let them. But I would love to have the choice to buy 'inferior' cheaper foreign rice (without the ridiculous tax). I'm not joking when I say supermarket food in my home country (a developed country) costs less than half of what it does in Japan. No, I don't want to spend 200 yen for an apple, either. Or 250 yen for 5 Brussel sprouts!

11 ( +14 / -3 )

I thought that this was a done thing, Abe had already sold-out the Japanese consumer and was ready to import western (Monsanto and other soylent-green type foods). Just like what Nakasone did by promising no increase in taxes which he renegged on once elected. As far as agriculture is concerned I would prefer to buy Japanese provided its not the nuclear-enriched kanto agriculture.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Those who argue against free trade (in the macro sense) do not understand economics. While there are winners and losers at the micro level, at the macro level, trade is a win-win situation or else it does not occur.

Loved Bill Clinton's comment about protectionism just being a fancy term for giving up.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan saying tariffs are needed for food security is BS!

I have been here a couple decades & counting & J-agriculture while highly protected has done basically NOTHING to increase productivity & reduce cost, all this time Japan should have been working remedy this some but has chosen to do nothing for the most part.

I think the powers that be are simply waiting for most farmers to get too old to care before doing much.

Bottom line is Japan does nothing to help itself & it just gets harder & harder as time goes on & more costly to boot!

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Japan should not join the TPP to protect its own agriculture. In other words, It perfectly should not depend on other countries food production.

To think that Japan is, or ever will be, even remotely food self-sufficient is preposterous.

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firstly Japan will always depend on other coutries for food, theyll never be able produce 100% of the food the population needs (theyre not even at 50% now) food should be affordable for all, farmers here get over 5trillion yen a year in handouts, more than 6% the annual budget for a sector that is less than 1% of the economy. just plain selfish. plenty of countries produce good safe cheap food, its the crazy high tarriffs that are there to protect these selfish farmers which is making imported foods a lot more expensive than they need to be.

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tmarieFeb. 19, 2014 - 08:53AM JST Japa has to seriously do something about the cost of food here. The poor people are not going ----------------------

I totally agree. Food prices are outrageous in this country. I quite often shop at the discount outlets where food is much cheaper and quantity is greater. Also, quality is much higher as they supply to restaurants. The imported foods are so much cheaper. I blame supermarkets for excessive markups which is obvious as you can purchase same items cheaper at special stores. Not totally related to food, but look at Daiso 100 yen shops where same or similar items go much cheaper than in places like Konan shops.

I see many of the same items from China that sell here for up to 3 times the amount as in other Western countries. Just look at prices on eBay.

The other big problem is the amount of duty levied on food products like rice, butter, cheese etc. Butter 360%, Rice 778%. I look forward to the day when I can buy cheaper New Zealand Butter, cheese etc. ( if I am still here ) We would love to do more home baking and cooking but ingredients being so overpriced make it not worthwhile.

Someone stated that they would prefer to buy Japanese products. I would also, but it's the problem of price. One thing is for sure. If TPP goes through, stores here will have to drop their excessive markups. We should hopefully be able to buy food buy the kg and not per item.

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Japan always has to have their own set of rules. They need to change it from TPP to TPC - Trans Pacific Compromise!

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Apples are not apples. Any country should be able to grow its own food, at least enough to feed its own. Basic food security. I agree farm subsidies should be abolished in EVERY county including the hidden ones.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Does anyone else recognize the connection between having a political system that unduly rewards the rural inhabitants at the expense of the vastly more numerous city dwellers and...a food production system that unduly rewards the rural inhabitants at the expense of the vastly more numerous city dwellers? This is the key to everything: these "farmers" aren't just fighting to keep their less productive system of agriculture alive, they're trying to keep in place a political system which is anti-democratic at its core! One person, one vote in Japan? Not exactly...

Japan will never, NEVER be self-sufficient in food. (It has been unable to produce even half its total food supply for decades.) To say it should, or can be self-sufficient in food, is a sentiment not connected in any way to reality. It's yet another myth that is dangled before an uninformed electorate to keep the tariffs high and city folks paying 10 times more than food in a modern society should truly cost.

"Japanese food is BETTER," the Japanese keep claiming at every turn? Well, why are you so afraid of competition, then? Never mind the latest rash of false labeling, rice from radioactive parts of the country being force-sold to cities, or the bait-and-switch menu scams occurring at hundreds of "high-quality" Japanese-owned restaurants nationwide: open your markets, and prove your claim! (Of course, you'll do your best not to. Gosh, I wonder why?...)

As for the myth of the "small farmer" in Japan, please. This is yet another highly exaggerated, over-sentimentalized, and politicized myth. Agriculture, as measured as a percent of GDP, is 1.1% of the Japanese economy. This is the EXACT SAME portion of Japan's economy as...the US's "massive behemoth of agribusiness conglomerates," by the way. Yet in Japan, the whole sector is filled with love-filled, traditional-style Ma and Pa farms? (Don't believe the domestic agribusiness hype!)

How long will this domestic "1%" keep their tyrannical death-hold over what urban folks can eat, which sizes they can buy, and how much they can afford and pay for the most basic essential foodstuffs? It needs to end!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Japan always has to have their own set of rules

It's US that always has to have their own set of rules. Think of SOFA, think of this TPP-Non tariff rules. Why does US unilateraly decide "no exception" in "negotiation"?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"trade is a win-win situation or else it does not occur."

Protected trade, yes. Free trade can be toxic. Japan and S. Korea's economic miracles occurred through protectionism, not free trade. US success stories like pickup trucks and Harley Davidson are thriving today thanks to protectionism.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

People complain we are eating very expensive rices in Japan. The same person does not care about paying the same money for a bottle of natural water which is as much as a bowl of rice.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Why does the US want to force Japanese to accept mediocre and toxic beef, pork and agricultural products. Even now if I see these things in the supermarket I never buy them.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japanese supermarkets are a rip off. 250 yen for three small onions at my local supermarket. 600 yen for a huge bag of onions at Cosco . (About 25 or so) You can also find reasonable prices at local food wholesale markets (ichiba)

I wish we could get jasman or basmati rice here in Japan. Even if it was locally grown Since Japanese are rice connoisseur, I think they would appreciate different types of rice.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Why does the US want to force Japanese to accept mediocre and toxic beef, pork and agricultural products. Even now if I see these things in the supermarket I never buy them.

The U.S. is not forcing Japan to accept any product, just take off the tariffs. If people think they're so mediocre and won't buy them, then Japan shouldn't need to impose any tariffs. (So why are there tariffs then?)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sure, Japan has to make concessions in the agricultural area. But what are Abe's plans on restructuring the farming sector?

Furthermore, abolishing tariffs is one thing, but there won't be an even playing field when subsidies are not taken into account. The US, among with the EU, is the country with the highest agricultural subsidies worldwide and both have consistently blocked any progress in WTO free trade negotiations. How come we never hear about agricultural subsidies in context with TPP negotiations?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd much rather buy locally as well but you know, there is a time when I look at the local JAA prices and look at the imported food and when the imports are cheaper - not probably safer in terms of labels, I'll but NZ, Canadian, Mexican... It speaks volumes about how proected the farmers are here - and yes with regards to their votes and the like. Why farmers get to run the country and live off the taxes while producing overpriced food is beyond me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I see a lot of posters here talking about how much "safer" Japanese food products are but with all the labeling gaffs here and the less-than-full-disclosure about radiation from Fukushima, are you sure you want to believe that??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry, if you are talking about my post, I am stating that I have more faith in the fruit and veg from abroad. I have ZERO faith in food safety here. That should be AND probably safer.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@tmarie: Not referring to you

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ah! Okay! I would love safe and local food at a decent price but even with the local farmer's market, I question what the heck things have been sprayed with - and if the food really is local! My JA claims to be local but we get Tohoku stuff and I refuse to buy anything from the area. I would KILL for sweet potatoes but nope, all from Tohoku. No thanks.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If there's one thing this lucky Canadian noticed in Japanese grocery stores, it's the horrid cost of things. Fruit and vegetables? It's no wonder the typical one-earner Japanese people can't afford them. A simple 1kg (good) beef roast with almost no fat is something I can buy in Victoria for 1200-1600 yen, but it costs more than 6000 yen in Japan - WHEN I COULD FIND IT! Same thing for pork roasts - I asked a butcher in a meat shop for one, and he want 8000 yen for the thing, and it was the fattiest piece of crap I've ever seen. Same thing here would be about 1200 yen. And as for baking - one of my favorite hobbies - don't get me going on that one. At the ridiculous Japanese prices for simple things like decent shortening and flour, you might as well give up trying to tantalize the household with those beautiful aromas. Eech!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Will I ever be ae to buy beer for less than it is now?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan wants the United States to set a timeline for scrapping tariffs of 2.5% on imports of passenger cars and 25% on light trucks.


Are Japan planning to manufacture cars and light truck in Japan to export to USA? to compete Japanese automaker branches in USA? Or planning Made in China GM and Ford cars to be exported to USA? Maybe Japanese automakers in Japan has to make left-side handle cars to export to USA? /forgot USA people are taller than Japanese and mini cars will not sell well in USA?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

kwattFeb. 19, 2014 - 10:28AM JST Japan should not join the TPP to protect its own agriculture.

Regarding Japan of the TPP, the average Japanese farm is less than 5 acres, compared with about 440 acres for the average U.S. farm and many farmers are finding it more difficult to make ends meet. In five years, Japanese goverment will remove the aging farmers subsidy that total $46 billion annually. Why should average citizens get penalized for higher price of welfare farming subsidy. Most Japanese farmers have very little money, no youth, and no future with majority of Japan’s farmers that are senior citizens. Due to an aging farmers, J-goverment has to make tough decisions for their future. The country side Japan's farmers is already approached some sort of dead end by the result of depopulation, trade liberalization and depleted government handouts. Japan now nation that now imports over 60 percent of its food. A change in TPP agreement with U.S. could be the end of inefficient rural commercial rice farmers in Japan. So let the consumer decide on buying California's U.S. rice at fraction of the cost of Japanese rice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So let the consumer decide on buying California's U.S. rice at fraction of the cost of Japanese rice.

There are a few more variables that have to be considered. Your argument only makes sense in a perfect world. This one is not so.

For instance, subsidizing rice farms are in the interests of national security. The US oil industry is subsidized approximately $4 billion per year for the sake of national security. Okay, yes, oil ...important. If you have it, protect it. Staple crop ...even more important, don't you think??? Once Japanese rice farms can't compete in any way, they will disappear. And, Japan will be at the mercy of rice producing nations. China has already proven they will use that kind of leverage to intimidate-- remember the rare earth element fiasco last year?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

slump Feb. 21, 2014 - 07:15AM JST For instance, subsidizing rice farms are in the interests of national security.

I don't think you read it clearly. The Japanese goverment will discontinue farm subsidy in five years. Then what?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Then what?

Then, wait for the rice farms to start disappearing from Japan. Demand for rice will never decrease. The suppliers can start raising their prices. The suppliers' governments can then also start using Japan's dependence on rice as leverage. So, cross your fingers and hope... (not usually the best option for national policy).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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