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Japan to decide on joining TPP by next month

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Japanese farmers are vehemently opposed to joining out of fear that food imports would ruin them.

As always. Actually to should push Japanese farms to become more efficient and lower food prices to Japanese consumers.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

A trade bloc is a good idea.

One led by the U.S.A. is not.

Not in its current state anyway.

In place of diplomacy, it uses threat and gun power.

As a country, it's not capable of thinking internationally.

It's not capable of leading anything on an international basis.

-4 ( +3 / -6 )

Japan's farmers have already been suffered from bad reputations from radioactive materials. It pose more stress on them, leading to far more decreasing food self-sufficiency. The aim of the U.S is to promote their beef in Japan. Besides, this plan may be pushed by Federation of Economic Organization, which have tremendous influence the politics in Japan. Noda seems to accept the plan in exchange for support DPJ. The cabinet should explain why they decide accept the plan with concrete figures. I don't determine whether this decision makes Japan's economy better or not, but I'm skeptical about the advantageous effects of this.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

kaketama -- please explain your thinking to me. Less than 3% of Japan's GDP comes from agriculture and the families employed in it. And, the business leaders of Japan are all in favor of the TPP, since they know it will help make the industries that do drive Japan's economy more competitive. So why is the tail wagging the dog?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Japanese farmers are really not confident in their own products are they? If the Japanese rice is as special as they think it is, then not only will people here still buy it but overseas customers will be desperate to get their mitts on it!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

herefornow

regardless of a ratio of farming in GDP, I think it is essential for all countries to be able to sustain themselves by their own food to some extents.

exports accounts for about 10% of Japan's GDP, not so much.

China and Korea, which are the second and third largest countries as designation for export, don't and won't take part in the TPP.

there are other ways to promote exports. For example, Korea chose the FTA to preserve their framing industry.

in the future, I'm negative about the competitiveness of Japan's industry. Korea and Taiwan now create similar products at far less price.

But I'm not so familiar with the economy. If what I say is wrong, please let me know.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Free trade is good for everybody in general. But what generally happens (in pretty much every country), the small minority opposed to it will march in the streets, attracting media attention, and the government will lose their will.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Regardless of a ratio of farming in GDP, I think it is essential for all countries to be able to sustain themselves by their own food to some extents.

Opening their borders will actually revive Japanese farming.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The price of food should be based on the local economy and not on the lowest world price because when that happens, poor and developing countries are forced to sell most of their food crops to pay the interest on foreign debts.

Be happy you live in an economy were you can put food on your table every day. Tonight, 4 billion people will go to sleep without enough food in their stomach.

People who think farming is easy should try working it for one year. You can't fully enjoy the wine unless you have picked the grape.

Imports tariffs go into the national purse.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

pro-TPP and all the benefits it will bring to Japan, in particular Tohoku. People need to realize free trade is a good thing!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Actually to should push Japanese farms to become more efficient and lower food prices to Japanese consumers.

Go tell that to American manufacturers. People thought Ross Perot and his "giant sucking sound to the South" was crazy, but he was dead right. American manufacturing is not more competitive, it's virtually non-existent.

When Japanese farmers realize they cannot compete with lower priced foods from overseas you think they will become more competitive? No, they will go under, because they cannot possibly compete with countries with very low cost of living and doing business. Places where wages are very suppressed like Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia. How can Japan possible compete on commodity prices? Those farmers won't be able to make a living anymore.

The US sold it's working class soul long ago which is why it has no problem with joining such a block. Japan should avoid getting dragged into that same pit.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Go tell that to American manufacturers. People thought Ross Perot and his "giant sucking sound to the South" was crazy, but he was dead right. American manufacturing is not more competitive, it's virtually non-existent.

In the meantime, manufacturing is moving back to Germany from China when they work out it is more competitive.

When Japanese farmers realize they cannot compete with lower priced foods from overseas you think they will become more competitive? No, they will go under, because they cannot possibly compete with countries with very low cost of living and doing business.

Yes they can. They need to become more efficient.

Anyway, why is Japan happy to move manufacturing overseas and not farm jobs? The farm lobby is too strong. And don't mention food sufficiency. Japan never had and never will. In any case it's not important.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I still don't u derstand how farmers are able to hold a whole nations economy hostile in order to serve their own interest. Go TPP. In my opinion, it's already a sealed deal. Japan stagnant economy has no choice but to open it's markets.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

"it's already a sealed deal"

more than 180 DPJ Diet politicians have signed a petition against it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

more than 180 DPJ Diet politicians have signed a petition against it.

That's a valid point but I think there some like 722 members of Parliament. And I'm pretty sure there are strong forces behind this TPP if PM Noda is actually putting it on the table. Anyways, Japan is not one to publicly display it's true intentions but with it being all over the news, i think it has a very good chance.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes they can. They need to become more efficient.

The free marketeers refrain. PLEASE explain how a country with labor costs minimum 4x of a competing nation can ever hope to be competitive on commodity prices. It's all about price, and you will never be efficient enough in food production to make up for extreme inequality in land prices and wages.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan stagnant economy has no choice but to open it's markets.

What's in it for Japan? Strong outflow of jobs overseas when unemployment is already ludicrously high? More cheap crap like you get at an American Walmart? Slave labor products? Just curious how this benefits anyone who's not a manager, the workers will get screwed.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"What's in it for Japan? Strong outflow of jobs overseas when unemployment is already ludicrously high? More cheap crap like you get at an American Walmart? Slave labor products? Just curious how this benefits anyone who's not a manager, the workers will get screwed."

With the overvalued Yen jobs and whole industries are already moving out of Japan and unemployment will increase! Most of the cheap crap at Walmart comes from China (the world's supplier of the highest quality cheap crap!), just like the cheap crap at Japanese UniGlo, Jusco, 100 Yen stores etc! The TPP would only work for Japan if Japanese could get themselves in a competitive mode and get rid of the rampant price-fixing, bribery, pork barrel projects, and general corruption that keep the wheels squeeking along in this country.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There are only 480 House of Representative members and out of 306 DPJ members, 180 have signed the petition. The Komeito are opposed that's another 21 members. So it's not quite a done deal.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

zichi speaks wisdom

Seems to me, usually when you read one of these "to be decided next month" stories, it drags on forever until it evaporates. Relocation of Futenma. Signing of the Hague Treaty. Allowance of dual family names. Adapting daylight savings time. It's shorthand for some powerful drag pulling back from the boys upstairs, especially the boys who depend on a well-connected rural constituency.

Let's see where this one goes. Hard to call.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is just an excuse for USA to force genetically modified foods on Japan. Don't Join ! If it was only between countries like New Zealand, Australia, Chile etc., it would be a good agreement as foods from those countries are much safer and not controlled by the likes of Monsanto.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No to GM foods and a big no to the Monsanto monster

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It appears many posters here don't keep up with events outside of Japan, so, it is worth noting that the U.S. Congress just approved an FTA with SK. How come SK, which faces many of the same issues regarding agriculture/sustainablility, could manage to see the big picture and restructure its agricultural community to address the changing world, and Japan cannot? Japan continues to be its own worst enemy, and I'm just glad I'm no longer wasting hundreds of dollars a month for food there so the country can continue to bury its head in the sand.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Changes can happen without joining the TPP. Right now it's just not the most important issue after 3/11.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

At zichi

I agree with you on Monsanto and GM foods but don't use 3/11 as an excuse. 3/11 has only made Japan stronger and the full scope of the TPP is greater than just agriculture. Agriculture is not going pull Japan out of these economic times but rather large industrial players like Sharp, who is pressing forwards for the TPP, will. EVERYONE including agriculture will suffer if the economy continues to spiral downward as consumer spending dwindles.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Japanese farmers are vehemently opposed to joining out of fear that food imports would ruin them."

And Japanese farmers would be correct to be concerned.

". . . should push Japanese farms to become more efficient and lower food prices to Japanese consumers."

Prices don't need to be lower. The price structure as it stands helps support a braod swath of society by ensuring people can make a living wage in ways that 20-yen apples can't possibly do.

Japan, like any nation, needs to maintain an acceptable level of food self-sufficiency. With it's current self-sufficiency rate hovering at approximately 40%, the lowest among industrialized nations. A free trade agreement that would essentially result in Japanese farmers leaving the profession because low prices make it impossible to survive does nothing to help Japan maintain the ability to feed itself. Why would anyone insist it hurry this kind of security crisis along?

Just as I don't piss and moan about taxes, pretending roads and police and sewage magically appear from the land of sprites and faeries, I know that paying what some might consider a lot for produce here has not impacted my quaility of life in Japan in any significant way.

Japan IS thinking about its future with its reluctance to hop on board this agreement. Contrary to popular opinion expressed by the gradual Wal-Mart-ization of the free world, it's really not all about making sure people have the cheapest goods in the world, no matter, ironically, the cost.

It's also about ensuring the people who make those goods receive a livable wage for their labors. That can't be accomplished by forcing a country like Japan with its 40% self-sufficiency rating to flood its markets with vastly cheaper food from a country like the United States with a 125% food self-sufficiency rating and food it can essentially let rot in storage due to its over-abundance.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"Anyway, why is Japan happy to move manufacturing overseas and not farm jobs? And don't mention food sufficiency. Japan never had and never will. In any case it's not important."

Global security experts would strongly disagree with you . . . Respectfully, of course.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I know that paying what some might consider a lot for produce here has not impacted my quaility of life in Japan in any significant way.

LFRAgain -- I doubt that. Since you know so much about food/diet, I presume you know that most experts agree that people should consume large daily quantities of fresh fruits and vegtables -- for a healthy heart, fighting cancer, etc. But these are the things most expensive in Japan. So you willingly pay over $5.00 for a bag of 5 apples? Or similarly high prices for most green leafy vegtables? And that, you believe, is a good "quality of life"? Sorry, but IMO, it isn't. And potentially short-changing someone's health to protect a few rice farmers who live off taxpayers money isn't the long-term solution.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Herefornow,

if you no longer live in Japan why are you so concerned how much food prices are? Our monthly cost of living is less than 50% of what we were paying when living in the UK and that's 17 years ago. Everyday we eat fresh organically growth fruit and vegetables. I totally disagree with what you say. Just try doing the real maths which I have provided. Have you ever even worked on a farm?

There are about three million farmers but 90% of them only work part-time because farming does not earn enough. The average rice farm is 1.2 hectares or 2.5 acres

Now let us calculate a rice farmer's income for the 2008 yield assuming the cultivation area of one hectare, which is the average level.

Income from sales: 15,159/60 × 533 × 10 = 1,346,624 yen. The subsidy offered through the compensation program: 15,000 × 10 = 150,000 yen. Summing up the above, we obtain the income from rice of 1,496,624 yen. The production cost for the above: 16,497 ÷ 60 × 10 × 533 × 10 = 1,465,483 yen. The difference between the two (1,496,624 yen—1,465,483 yen) is 31,141yen.

Adding family labor costs (366,520 yen), interest on farmer's own capital (75,600 yen), and the amount equivalent to rent that the landed farmer would pay in rent (132,290 yen, hereafter cited as landed farmer's theoretical rent) to the above, we obtain 605,551 yen, which is the annual income the farmer earns from cultivating a one-hectare paddy. Accordingly, the farmer gains annual income of only about 600,000 yen from rice even after adding the income compensation. < http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/adv/chuo/dy/opinion/20100705.htm>

In 2010, the EU spent €57 billion on agricultural subsidies. The United States currently pays around $20 billion per year to farmers in direct subsidies.

I have worked on British farms (horses and eggs) French farms (grapes) Italian (everything Italian) and Japanese. The Japanese farmers are the poorest I have met.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

YankeeX

Japan could make trade agreements without including foodstuffs.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Two comments

Japan, by simple observation, doesnot possess any comparative advantages ( mountainous & limited land surface, labor & costs etc ) to give herself any chance of competitiveness in developing the agricultural sector with or without the TPP. Hence, pointless to focus only one side of the coin..should also be seeing into sectors whereby Japan has much stronger advantages ( from Toyotas to Nikons etc.. )

Does it make sense to exclude the BRICS ? Albeit to include countries representing a great variety of extreme scales : the biggest (USA) & the smallest (Brunei); the ( close to) richest (USA) & the (close to) poorest (Vietnam)... etc in short, a whole spectrum of economies ( except USA, Singapore & Brunei ) excluded from other economic entities ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

you willingly pay over $5.00 for a bag of 5 apples? Or similarly high prices for most green leafy vegtables? And that, you believe, is a good "quality of life"?

Had to convert the $ into ¥, works out at round ¥70-80 an apple, Sounds OK to me, though I'm in no position to compare ¥ prices with prices in the land of the $. Yet taking your word for it that $ apples and other fresh fruit and veg are so much cheaper, it seems strange that so many more people there suffer from obesity, spend more years of their lives in ill health, and have death rates from digestive diseases and heart disease that are so much higher. Maybe they're not consuming those large daily quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables, which is strange considering how cheap they apparently are. Is something else affecting their 'quality of life' and preventing them eating healthily?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If your numbers are accurate, I don't see how farming in Japan is viable. With these numbers, financially, agriculture would have died off decades ago. Again if this is true, importing food might be a better option as slaving away for a mere annual income of 600,000 yen is just not viable. Let's think sustainability.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

cleo,

There are more than 14 million Americans living below the poverty line and 50 million who can't afford health care.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

zichi - Quite. So cheap fruit and veg don't necessarily make for a good "quality of life".

What worries me most about a US-led free-trade zone is the prospect of having the Japanese food market flooded with unlabelled GMO.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

cleo,

we must all oppose any intentions of importing GMO's which are responsible for many health problems.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

zichi -- wonderful analysis, but it ignores the biggest issue -- the 700% tariff of rice imports that Japan imposes. If that didn't exist, the economics of the one hectacre farms would disppear, because they would be forced tocombine/rationalize. Which is the whole point. Japan continuing to support a feudal system is foolish. But, please, answer my basic question -- if SK, which faced the same ecomomics, could restructure their agriculture, why can't Japan? Why can't you just admit the obvious? It has nothing to do with economics or sustainability, but everything to do with entrenched interests like the JA and the Agriculture Ministry and the disproportionate voting power they control. And, cleo, as usual, a red-herring argument thrown in the direction of the U.S. which has no value to this discussion. But, more power to you that you feel committed to paying ridiculous prices for agricultural products so Japan can maintain its "island mentality". Let's hope the industries that supply most of Japan's jobs, can somehow manage to flourish in this environment and provide jobs for your kids, so they can pay the same prices for the rest of their lives.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

cleo,

both my wife and I are retired. So is my mother and step father who live in Florida. We all have similar lives. My parents pay less for their monthly food bill but come the end of the month, their monthly bills are more than twice what we pay.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

America is the only country which wants to increase it's level of rice exports to Japan. Most Asian countries grow rice for domestic consumption. The new Thai government has increased the rice subsidies it pays so that their rice farmers can have a living wage.

America is a leading rice exporter in the international market, accounting for about 12%. Japan imports 150,000 tons of medium grain brown rice from the United States. Accounting for more than a third of total U.S. medium grain milled rice exports.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Herefornow

Let's hope the industries that supply most of Japan's jobs

Well America certainly does not which might explain why the American unemployment figures are more than twice those of Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

zichi; At the current UK/Japan exchange rate the cost of liiving in Japan is over double that of the UK. If you are buying organic products then taht figure will be higher, In the last few years many organic foods in the UK are almost as cheap as non organic.

I do not mind paying for good food. Luckily where i live i can buy straight from the source for many things. Fresh spuds 100 Yen a kilo, 4 onions 100Yen. Japan is not as expensive as 10 years ago but many things like butter are far too pricey and seem to be price fixed.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Only 1 winner USA

2 ( +2 / -0 )

ConocoPhillips, one of the world’s largest and most profitable oil companies, yesterday said it’s “un-American” to take away taxpayer subsidies from the oil industry. This wasn’t a verbal slip; the comment was put in a press release. (May 12 2011) Americans pay more than ¥4 billion a year for oil subsidies.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

steve,

I think I know better than you what I paid for my living costs. Our cost of living in the UK was ¥1.5 million more per year than what we now pay in Japan. And that was for 1994 figures. Our current house is three times the size of our last one in the UK and less than one third of the rent. Our utilities costs are less as are our transport costs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is there any advantage of Japan signing this agreement ? It seems a maneuver desperate of foxes of the DPJ to please the Americans.What the mass media not discloses is that not only farmers but banks, insurers will be severely impaired.Will be a nice gift,but how to explain the American friends relocation Futenma base is unlikely

2 ( +2 / -0 )

zichi; Obviouly not. Unless you lived in a mansion and shopped a Harrods you do not know what you speaketh. I am mostly speaking about food here as well. So 17 years ago wihout inflation you things cost more than now with th current exchange rate? Sorry but not true.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Came here 10 years ago after having first come in. Do you keep up wih current events, exchange rates, food prices? his opic is mosttly abou food and if you really think ood has been cheaper in Japan than the UK in at least the last 3 decades, eitehr your local grocer was ripping you off or you live in a fantasy world. Don't knwow hy you come here saying this stuff so easily proved to be false.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Steve,

at this moment I'm watching the BBC London News which has an item on most Londoners are having to pay more than 50% of their income in rent payments. Compared with when we lived in the UK, we now pay twice as much for food but only one third for rent, two thirds for utilities and one third for transport. So at the end of the month, in Japan we have more money left. We are retired and couldn't even think of living in the UK again unless we went to somewhere like the far north of Scotland. We currently live in a 15 room house.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Steve,

the organic vegetables we buy from farmers in the Hyogo mountains cost less than those from the food stores.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

zichi; but it all depends on lifestyle and whcih part of teh country you choose to reside in. The last place i rented in the UK was 2 bedroom garden flat in Dulwich, in 2001 the rent was 850 a month then. I could rrenta 2 bedroom house in Licolnshire now with a garage and large garden for 500 a month now. London is too expensive for rents, but food prices in UK are far below Japanese especially for staples.

If you are buying orgainoc from Hyogo mountains you are probably buying from people known our family. A lott of our veg is from there and some others is Kaibara and fukuchiyama.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

correction

Americans pay $4 billion per year in oil subsidies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i agree with pawatan part of why there is such a high unemployment rate in the US right now is because companies can hire cheap labor and move overseas.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wait a couple of or few years and see the effects the TPP has on South Korea and the other countries. Then make a decision after seeing some of the results of this "experiment".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Unlike South Korea, J-goverment seems to be always be the last one to make drastic concessions. Korea is already getting head start with elimanation of 2.5 percent in tariffs on autos exported to U.S. Point is Japan really don't know how to make decisions and only think of themselves. If TPP between Japan and U.S. is agreed, then what happens to U.S. auto export to Japan? Will Japan finally drop expensive bogus inspections, modifications and other tariffs to make U.S. cars such as Ford, GM and Chysler products more competitive and affordable to potential buyers?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Zichi , it sure sounds like you have made the right retirement lifestyle choice for yourself and your wife ..but gee 15 room house ? :-)...Thats big!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

marcelito,

might sound so but I am also a painter and have a art studio in my house plus I need a computer room. My wife has a private school for teaching pupils after their school. We like having large dinner parties with our friends. My rent is cheaper than a one room apartment in Tokyo. But there's the cleaning!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LFRAgain

I have to totally agree with all your posts.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

herefornow LFRAgain -- I doubt that. Since you know so much about food/diet, I presume you know that most experts agree that people should consume large daily quantities of fresh fruits and vegtables --etc, etc,

You are obviously comparing Japanese food prices to your own country and currency. I often compare prices to my own country prices, but I am in Japan and have to accept living in this economy structure. Actually, a lot of foods have dropped in price over here and if you look around there is a lot of cheaper food to be found.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

zichiOct. 14, 2011 - 01:06AM JST

YankeeX Japan could make trade agreements without including foodstuffs.

Now, that is something I would agree with.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Herefornow,

"If that didn't exist, the economics of the one hectacre farms would disppear, because they would be forced tocombine/rationalize. Which is the whole point. Japan continuing to support a feudal system is foolish."

You provide absolutely no basis or proof for these claims.

And you can disagree with me all you'd like, but I eat plenty of fruits and veggies on a daily basis and my quality of life is quite fine, thank you. A bit presumptuous of you to claim otherwise, not being me, don't you think?

"It has nothing to do with economics or sustainability, but everything to do with entrenched interests like the JA and the Agriculture Ministry and the disproportionate voting power they control."

No, it has more to do with food self-sustainability. Sure, you'll get no argument from me about JA having a headlock on the agricultural industry in Japan. But being a government entity (I have many friends who work for JA) it certainly isn't for profit, a point which certainly lessens the impact of any suggestions of grift or corruption.

At the end of the day, you want to pay unreasonably low prices for food in Japan. And Japan's taking the reasonable position that to make this so would significantly damage a CRUCIAL economic and manufacturing sector of society. Again, it's not all about 20-yen apples. The people who bring those apples to market, from the farms to the packing plants to the markets, have every right and reasonable expectation to recieve a decent wage for their work. Free trade agreements like the TPP would make that difficult if not impossible, considering the vast differences between the players at the table.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

will be another disaster for Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Two years government DPJ and these lunatics are to throw away years of sacrifice of achievements Japanese people.The Japan will be a species of gift obama in elections next year.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Supporters and opponents of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade talks were locked in a head-on collision Friday as the Democratic Party of Japan kicked off internal discussions on whether to participate in the negotiations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Much needed reforms on Japanese agriculture is inevitable. Sk did it and its time Japan did too. But this TPP is not about farming. It's about the entry in the overseas market which are vital for the EXPORT driven economy of Japan. NOT AGRICULTURE! If the economy continues this downward spiral, demand for cheaper imported food will grow.

Members of the DPJ are useless politicians who are only interested in protecting their incumbency.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

But being a government entity (I have many friends who work for JA) it certainly isn't for profit, a point which certainly lessens the impact of any suggestions of grift or corruption.

LFRAgain -- huh? Please re-read my post. I NEVER mentioned profit in regards to JA. I simply referred to them as an "entrenched interest" which wields way too much influence. Which they clearly do. I will state again, this argument has nothing to do with economics, or even self-sustainability, except for the JA and the Agriculture Ministry. Those entities refuse to change, or more importantly, lead the agricultural industry in a direction that would make them competitive and allow Japan to join the 21st century. But, still, you refuse to address the central issue, which YankeeX, the previous poster also notes -- how come SK can do it but Japan can't? And, the "basis for proof" for stating Japan has a feudal system in regards to agriculture is in zichi's argument, supporting your case. That being that most farms are like one hectacre and only make a profit becuase of government subsidies and tariffs. No more proof needs be offered.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

American consumers pay more than double the world price for sugar. The federal sugar program guarantees domestic producers a take of 22.9 cents per pound for beet sugar and 18 cents for cane sugar, while the world spot price for raw cane sugar is currently about 10 cents per pound. A 2000 study by the General Accounting Office estimated that Americans paid an extra $1.9 billion a year for sugar due to import quotas alone.

American families also pay more for their milk, butter, and cheese, thanks to federal dairy price supports and trade barriers. The federal government administers a byzantine system of domestic price supports, marketing orders, import controls, export subsidies, and domestic and international giveaway programs. According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, between 2000 and 2002 the average domestic price of nonfat dry milk was 23 percent higher than the world price, cheese 37 percent higher, and butter more than double. Trade policies also drive up prices for peanuts, cotton, beef, orange juice, canned tuna, and other products.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

YankeeXOct. 13, 2011 - 04:21PM JST

I still don't u derstand how farmers are able to hold a whole nations economy hostile in order to serve their own interest. Go TPP. In my opinion, it's already a sealed deal. Japan stagnant economy has no choice but to open it's markets.

As long as genetically modified and radiated foods are not forced on Japan.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Herefornow,

I'm not asking you for evidence of someone having typed something here. I'm asking for proof that would support your assertion that the agricultural system Japan currently employs is somehow inferior to whatever system you imagine to be better. What is it specifically about Japan's system that strikes you as so "feudal"? How exactly would a free trade agreement make things better for Japan?

After all, you are aware of the inherent contradiction in complaining about Japan's ubiquitous one-hectare (10,000 sq meters) plots in the context of being remnants from feudal Japan, aren't you?

As a metric unit, hectares were adopted effectively by Japan in 1951. Doesn't get too much more modern than that, particularly since most of the world also uses hectares to measure its farmland, including the EU. Interestingly, the United States as the world's largest agricultural producer still sticks with the "acre" as a unit of measurement, and that hasn't seems to slow its farmers down one bit.

You complain of inefficiencies and one-hectare plots. Are you envisioning Japan adopting farming techniques on par with the United States' average farm size of 450-hectares?

How, pray tell, is this to happen in a country that is notoriously mountainous, with but 11.9 percent of its land surface suitable for farming (versus 19 percent for South Korea)? Mega-farms are never going to happen in Japan. There simply isn't enough room for them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Herefornow,

"It has nothing to do with economics or sustainability, but everything to do with entrenched interests like the JA and the Agriculture Ministry and the disproportionate voting power they control.

Disproportionate to what, exactly? If you aren't worried about profiteering or corruption from Japan Agriculture and the Ministry of Agriculture, then so what if they're entrenched and interested? Both JA and the MoA are tasked by the electorate with ensuring Japan has a stable food supply. Why wouldn't they have considerable influence? Why wouldn't their influence be virtually unassailable? We're talking about a nation's food supply here.

If your issue is with JA and the MoA simply having influence, then I want to hear why. Specifics. Details. Reports. Links. You know, proof. I want to know what's so bad about Japan's agriculture system that it necessitates Japanese farmers losing their jobs in droves in order to keep American farmers employed -- aside from you loathing to have to pay 100 yen for an apple.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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