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Japan to help farmers impacted by EU trade pact

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Is this how Japan defines fair trade?

Japan doesn't do fair trade. The so-called "free trade agreement" between Japan and Australia a couple of years ago resulted in zero tariffs for Japanese goods, and a reduction to 18% tariffs on Australian beef. To Japan, "free trade" means free access for Japanese products only.

The rest of the world's economies are competitive for the most part (though they are becoming less so as corporatists move to monopolize their economies). In Japan, the economy has never been based upon competition. Japanese companies prefer to cooperate with each other rather than compete against each other.

Though it sounds like a good idea, it is anything but. Japanese companies have long participated in collusion and price fixing to keep the cost of goods high, while working together to force out any manufacturer or retailer who dares to try to charge a more competitive price. Despite price fixing being illegal in Japan, you see examples of it every day.

And Japan does not like to compete internationally either. By "encouraging" the LDP to keep the yen artificially weak, and to maintain tariffs against imports, Japan Inc is able to monopolize the domestic economy.

There is no real democracy in Japan. The electoral system is designed to give rural voters more votes than urban voters. The LDP for the last 70 years has used tariffs and subsidies to buy the rural vote, and thus maintain power almost perpetually. Japan's amakudari system in which government officials and bureaucrats can get executive jobs within Japan Inc when they retire from their state jobs insures that the government will always do what Japan Inc says.

The reduction of tariffs on European agricultural goods is meaningless. These goods will still have to be distributed by Japanese distributors, and sold in Japanese shops. I am willing to bet that the retail costs of these goods does not change. There are no tariffs on imported cars in Japan, but Japan has still managed to keep them out of the hands of Japanese consumers.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Like most ppl I will always support local brands if quality/price are of similar standard. Just give us what we want.

Yet there are few Japanese cheese makers that seem able to think outside the box and produce other varieties of cheese.

I have yet to find a decent Japanese cheddar, mild, sharp or otherwise, or how about a decent swiss cheese, etc etc etc. Oh and any that I have found are ungodly expensive!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Why does it take 15 years for these agreements to come into force? That makes little sense to me! A hell of a lot can happen between now and then.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Tokyo will help domestic farmers improve the quality of dairy products and reduce their production costs as well as support branding of items.

Actually think it's a great opportunity for J farmers to think outside the box and use the buzz created around euro cheese. Give me a quality/reasonably priced Hokkaido Brie (250y/150g?) and I'll buy it and so will many J ppl. They may try euro brands first but will eventually switch to j brands if/when they realise there isn't much difference after all. Small Tassie (oz) brands such as Tasmanian heritage did just that and came up with 'double brie', 'triple cream brie' etc cheeses, why can't J farmers do the same? Seize the opportunity instead

Like most ppl I will always support local brands if quality/price are of similar standard. Just give us what we want.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

there is nothing wrong with governments helping local business, you people talk as though this is some new idea created by Japan

Problem is that the these folks who will benefit from the subsidies are already getting subsidies on top of other subsidies.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Literally buying votes, since most J farmers have x3 voting power.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Yep, Japan is STILL having its cake & eating it too, not as bad as 30yrs ago, but still pretty bad.

And dairy is a perfect example of what is so wrong here.

Europe & others dealing with Japan need to get more of a backbone & so no more BS, if it continues, make J-products services take a hit with customs when they import to other countries!! Enough already!!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Reduce their production costs.

That means, does it not, that the government will subsidize the producers? Perhaps by paying for labor or materials? How is this leveling the playing field? How is this not a boosting of domestic product over imports? Unless, of course, European countries do the same.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Keep working for that rural vote abe lol, democracy I'm Japan? Only if you believe in tooth fairies!!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Got to love japanese style democracy!!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

And they'll still run out of butter come December.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Is this how Japan defines fair trade? No wonder the USA pulled out of TPP!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Don't fault Japan for getting a good deal! That is their prerogative. EU bent over to get a post- Brexit trade "win@.

15 years down the road? Good deal? I'll bet that there will be plenty of other changes along the way.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Half the posters on here will be dead before they get their wedge of blue cheese

2 ( +2 / -0 )

do you really believe the average 80 year old farmer will get a cent? it will all go to beauracrats.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Hi, Hammerhead, It would be beneficial to refresh your knowledge of the functions, roles, and structure of JA.

Also JA-ZENCHU the organisation that provides support for JA group and system of co-operatives.

Policies for food security and production, maintaining farming, forestry, shaping the changing environmental concerns are provisioned adequately under an existing budgetary framework. One area that needs immediate attention is addressing the effects of depopulation.

These important ongoing issues are not subject to the effects, direct or indirect implications, or implementations of this still proposed EPA. Both the EU commission and Government of Japan have a whole range of outstanding issues to negotiate before any ratification can take place.

It is far too premature to be exploring or implementing packages alleviating the so called adverse affects of a rise in imported diary and farming products. when the proposed quota and structural removal of tariffs outside a time frame for some products amounting to fifteen years has yet to be formulated.

There is a clear lack of communication here. JA should have been afforded formal representation throughout the whole negotiation process.

BelowJA link is self explanatory, to the right hand side is a useful breakdown of organisation and activities. I have some experience of my local JA , providing consultation on suggestions to improve accounting practices as part of a volunteer program, as a get to know my local community in Kochi when I moved here.                      

 https://www.zenchu-ja.or.jp/eng/orgenization

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@FizzBit

You're right about the milk. We get it once a week from Yabakei, in Oita. I never realised before how bland and chemical the convenience store stuff was.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So instead of taxing imports they will subsidize local farmers. What's the point of the free trade deal then?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wallace FredToday  11:33 am JST

"Keep working for that rural vote abe"

You may be happy to know that redistricting Has been put in place that in the next relevant election will result in one less member of the House of Represebtatives for Aomori, Iwate, Mie, Nara, Kumamoto, and Kagoshima prefectures.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You may be happy to know that redistricting Has been put in place that in the next relevant election will result in one less member of the House of Represebtatives for Aomori, Iwate, Mie, Nara, Kumamoto, and Kagoshima prefectures.

...taking the maximum vote disparity to 1.99, JUST within the constitutional limit. The system is still heavily rigged towards rural voters and will probably be unconstitutional again in a few years because of population decreases in the countryside.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Leaders of the European Union and Japan today reached agreement in principle on an Economic Partnership Agreement and a Strategic Partnership Agreement, which will bring huge benefits to the populations of both the EU and Japan and take relations to a new level.

There is a political declaration, an accord to reach an agreement in principle. Details below plus the press release

https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/29450/eu-and-japan-reach-political-agreement-landmark-trade-and-partnership-deals_en

The EPA will require more tough negotiation, there is a long way to go before ratification. A comprehensive legal dispute mechanism, on top of detailed understandings of quota framework will take time. A target of early 2019 is implausible when all 27/28 EU member states parliaments will need to give formal consent. Without clear dispute settlement procedures this is fanciful to say the least.  

https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/19223/eu-japan-political-relations_en

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't fault Japan for getting a good deal! That is their prerogative. EU bent over to get a post- Brexit trade "win@.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The production of beef is hugely damaging to the environment, on top of which, then shipping it 1,000s of miles in refrigerated ships does even more damage.

Hammerhead,

In case you don't know a LOT of the feed for J-cattle is actually imported from abroad!! Talk about an absurd situation, with the exception of Hokkaido & a few other places it makes little sense to raise beef in the first place..........yet here we are theatre of the bizarre!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

do you really believe the average 80 year old farmer will get a cent? it will all go to beauracrats.

Yeah the agricultural coops are the problem. Farmers get shafted pretty bad. If they didn't maybe more young people could be attracted to the industry and bring that 'out of the box' thinking, which would also help with the aging of rural areas. Japanese are easily capable of making produce that is just as good as that in Europe, as we've seen with other things like whiskey. I think the same potential is there for the nascent craft beer boom in Japan atm.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@gw a very lot of beef feed is from tohoku. the rice exceeds 100 bq, so can't be sold. but the hay has no limit. it is good to help the farmers recover. nobody wants their rice. good luck to them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is there a necessitate for this LDP ruling government to help farmers impacted by EU trade pact? ....Is it either essential or important to pledge or promise recompense for a  political declaration or essentially an accord to reach an agreement in principle that won't see the light of day until 2019?.....

Are we all just the little people, ready to be herded come what may?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

there is nothing wrong with governments helping local business, you people talk as though this is some new idea created by Japan

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Fact is that Japanese agricultural products are of a 3rd world quality when compared to those from Europe, NZ, Australia, North America, South America, etc...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Appreciated.

That explains why it has been so difficult to find out what it is this bit of wonder PR actually relates to.

I can only foresee a huge crisis in agriculture and wonder if the State has already decided to outsource food production, e.g. take the average age of farmers and add 15 years to it ... and you have almost no farmers left. I read some of the big companies are already leasing swathes of China just to grow food. I presume they are looking at elsewhere, where there are farming communities and more economic land.

Asia land managed by Japanese producing food to Japanese standards seems logical enough. Far moreso than, say, encouraging the immigration of vast numbers of foreign landworkers to Japan.

That, in my opinion, would be a disaster.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The so-called "free trade agreement" between Japan and Australia a couple of years ago resulted in zero tariffs for Japanese goods, and a reduction to 18% tariffs on Australian beef. 

Well then Australia should not have agreed to it if its so bad, they did not have to. Don't blame Japan because they are better negotiators. Perhaps there were concessions on Japans side for something else, cherry picking the parts that support your dislike for Japan proves nothing

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@itsonlyrocknroll

Is there a necessitate for this LDP ruling government to help farmers impacted by EU trade pact?

Although there are valid criticism to be made of political interests on the conservatives side, there is a bigger picture involving

a) food security, and

b) maintaining the rural environment

The first is obvious. Every nation has to support the structure for a degree of 'food security'. It's a similar argument to supporting a military.

Japanese farmers also do more than farm, they maintain the rural environment. No farmers, no rural environment, which involved roads, bridges, rivers, drainage and so on.

As the rural areas depopulate this becomes more of a problem.

Therefore there is a less cler and more complex relationship of payments/funding and essential support for rural communities.

Lastly, as with any industry, it needs to support at a certain level in order for the skills and structures to survive.

Neither "The Market", nor enslaving Japan to overseas food producing nations, cannot fix this alone.

As with the military, you don't need one when you don't need one but when you do need one, you cannot just invent one at the snap of your fingers. Same to with agriculature.

@LandofExcuses

Fact is that Japanese agricultural products are of a 3rd world quality

This is clearly not true.

Either you have never been to Japan, or you have never been to a 3rd world country.

The quality of food is about the one area where Japan is universally recognized to shine.

You're probably just buy cheap imported vegetables at local supermarkets.

@GW

In case you don't know a LOT of the feed for J-cattle is actually imported from abroad!! Talk about an absurd situation ... it makes little sense to raise beef in the first place

Yes, I know that and I agree with you. Worse still they are kept in cooled barns and stalls all year long.

it's completely inappropriate from a cultural and environment point of view, and I mean "inappropriate" in the correct use the word, not some politically correct way.

Sadly, historically, it is another one of those idiocies forced upon it first by the Americans, in this case dating back to 1868 and the first ambassador Townsend Harris demanding that Japan supply him with beef and milk.

Right from the beginning, it was not just cultural arrogance but serving US capitalist interests.

Beef and milk are just not Japanese and not environmentally suitable.

The U.S. also used the Occupation to enculturate the Japanese into eating American diet and dietary produce that its own industry was better established to supply. This is often, erroneously presented as "supply protein" but, scientifically, that was and remains BS. Read up on the influence of the American meat industry upon American politics and American dietary recommendations.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The production of beef is hugely damaging to the environment, on top of which, then shipping it 1,000s of miles in refrigerated ships does even more damage.

Anything that can resist and obstruct that industry is a good thing.

Even moreso, where there's a public health issue, outsourcing your food production for a non-essential 5,000 miles away - or other services - is insane.

I have not yet the final breakdown. What was it?

It seems there might "free trade" is there any element of "free movement" for labor, or it is all to benefit big businesses?

Thankfully at least the customer service telephone lines in Japan cannot be outsourced to India or the Philippines there are not enough people out there who speak Japanese!

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Tokyo will help domestic farmers improve the quality of dairy products and reduce their production costs as well as support branding of items.

This has me worried a little. I once got busted by US Customes for bringing in 5 liters of my favorite Japanese milk. Made me dump it told me don't do it again. The milk in the US is just bland white liquid with little flavor for a few non-hormon brands, to zero for the mass produced antibiotic/hormone crap.

I sure hope these new measures don't end up just making production more efficient and destroy the flavor. Not all brands have a good flavor here so I'm down to two companies now. My fav is the 1.6 fat Morinaga, but only from Kumumoto. The Totorri company that sells its 3.6 under the 7/11 brand is great also. There is another from Shikoku but it is not sold in my area.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

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