politics

More than 100 lawmakers oppose Japan's participation in TPP

40 Comments

A group of more than 100 lawmakers adopted a resolution on Friday, opposing Japan's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks.

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan has said that it plans to make a decision on joining the TPP discussions by the Nov 12-13 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), meeting in Honolulu.

The group of 110 lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties, includes former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, and Shizuka Kamei, head of the People's New Party, the coalition partner of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, and is led by former Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Masahiko Yamada, Jiji Press reported.

Yamada told a news conference that Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda does not understand how the TPP would adversely affect Japanese agriculture.

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Yamada told a news conference that Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda does not understand how the TPP would adversely affect Japanese agriculture.

I am so sick and effin tired of hearing this BS.

I live in an area of Japan that has seen a lot of it's formerly productive farmland plowed under to make room for American style indoor malls. If these a** clowns in the Diet are so damned concerned about Japanese ag, and food security, then the word would go out to not approve building permits for these unneeded monstrosities.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

180 have signed a petition against joining the TPP. Currently the country produces only 40% of its foodstuffs compared with 60% not so long ago, and if it joins the TPP, that will be reduced to 14%.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The TPP would benefit the farmers, they would have a bigger market in which to sell their goods. Why are they so scared of competition, ah !!!! must be the extortionate prices thy charge, and the fear of the all powerful JA.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The TPP would benefit the farmers, they would have a bigger market in which to sell their goods. Why are they so scared of competition, ah !

Because they will never be able to compete with Malaysian or Vietnamese farmers as those countries' costs are so, so so much lower than Japan. Unless you suppress wages and land prices to those countries's levels, how will they be able to compete? You'll never be able to be efficient enough when your competitor is happy living on 20,000/month.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The lie is that it would hurt Japanese agriculture when 100million n U won is right: if the government really cared about increasing it's agriculture industry and weaning itself of other other nations for food dependence, they would stop forming panels to talk about it and actually DO something. They could implement programs and further subsidies to get people out to the abandoned rural areas to engage in farming, and stop price gouging the consumers here with either extremely high prices for domestic products or ridiculous tariffs on imports. This is just an excuse to keep the prices sky-high and force people to buy domestic. What they should be doing is allowing the consumer to decide, and force the agricultural industry here to become competitive. And people overseas would still buy Japanese products, assuming they're proven safe (given the nuclear incident still ongoing), especially at lowered prices!

Nah, these lawmakers clearly do not have the consumers' or the industry's best interest at heart -- they are thinking of votes, and lining their pockets.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@pawatan

As long as the food is properly labelled, what's wrong with that? Should Japan block all imports in order to protect jobs? Let the consumer choose. If someone else can provide a quality product at a low price, isn't that wonderful? Why harm the majority for the few? The consumers are robbed of their choices to subsidize for the farmers. Is that the right way?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Food security, environmental concerns, food quality, and local socio-economic configurations that support all of the above necessitate a NO TPP answer to this agreement, which threatens to subvert local food production capacity and quality, and small scale entrepreneurship.

There should be some sort of international treaty that exempts the agriculture sector from such assaults, as food is not a VAT type of commodity, and such trade agreements, made nominally in the name of reducing trade barriers, should only relate to non-essential goods, i.e., high value-added manufactured products.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Uh... radiation concerns?

No sane market outside planetJapan would buy Japanese produce, regardless if it was grown in Kyushu or right next door to the daiichi.

I am actually seriously considering buying a portable gieger counter to check food before buying in super markets. I can guarantee you a good portion of the stuff labelled from XXX prefecture is falsified just to get it to sell.

Let the housewives continue to buy fukushima or tohoku products on purpose and feed them to their families to "help tohoku".

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japanese foodstuff is still being imported in the EU.

You can't measure radiation in food using a hand held Geiger counter.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

This is a severe 'blow' to PM Noda, his political career is dooming and he will lost support from his party very soon!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The Agricultual industry just can not compete, How many Ministers in charge have been forced to resign even commit suicide due to shady dealings. It another sector that gets huge subsidies without any result. The aging rural population out dated practices and systems to get goods to market,farm sizes that are unprofitable. No they can not compete with OECD countries nor emerging economies such as Vietnam...the skimming and vote buying ensure that nothing will change until it collapses..."regrettable"

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

japanese food stuff has special quality theres markets overseas

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think it's time to call for Noda's resignation. Just like Olympus, if he's an honest man, we have to get rid of him.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

more out-of-work young people are returning to the countryside and taking up farming...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Agree with Smith here.

These "Lawmakers" are just being lazy. They know they should join the TPP or Japan will be left behind in the global market, but joining the TPP means too much work for them with regards to finding ways to help Japanese agriculture become competitive, finding them other industry or sources of income, leveling the playing field, etc. etc.

They have "discussed" this issue for way too long. Trying to make everybody happy makes it nearly impossible to make a decision.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The TPP is long over due! Why are bananas so bloody expensive in Japan when we all know they grow on trees every in South East Asia, no pun intended, you name it and ALL FRUITS and Vegetables are way too expensive here in Japan. If we could actually get better prices for bananas, etc..here in Japan the country would a better country, let alone not having to worry about RADIATION from stupid, stupid TEPCO and friends up in Fukushima.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Indeed, Japan is doomed to a slow death unless it becomes less protectionist and more global. Not only in terms of business but in view of education overseas etc. The total of Japanese studying abroad is declining at a rapid pace while other Asian students are more globalized and bringing that expertise back to their home countries after studying and working abroad. They are in much demand in their home countries. Japan needs to spend less time looking inward and branch out before it becomes a colony of the giant next door in the next 100 years.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

yes under current "farming" policy the national % for self sufficient production will decrees further than it is already. Signing the TPP will hasten an already downward trend. I have lots of thumbs down? Statistics tell the story there needs to be change. We would all benefit from a more open and commercial market place, but not until Japan is able to compete. That is the cause, getting beaten by 3rd world countries on price! Well maybe lifting the game as other countries have done might help. NZ no subsidies for farmers and they are profitable, and have a much smaller local market. Australia too, a farm is a business. Can't make money try something other than tax payers money. That's my point. Outside the Bubble others are improving and able to make a profit...is Japan so different it's unable to do this.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not a popular topic, lots of thumbs down but nobody giving an alternative view..? Had no Idea so many Japanese farmers read JT.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The only way Japan can compete with agricultural products in Asia is to produce high quality rice, fruit and vegetables and export them to countries like China and Russia, targeting the rapidly increasing nouveau riche population.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese farmers has huge influences over those Japanese politicians, thats why any demand to open the 'agricultural market' of Japan is a threat to the interest of Japanese farmers and they will exerting pressure to the politics. Mr Noda has no idea about how the TPP will affects the Japanese farmers,then he shouldnt be the PM of japan! He will lost support from his party soon as his popularity falls!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I win -4 That's great, this time as nobody has explained why? Farmers need subsidies to continue, they don't make money and are scared of any competition. Japan can not produce enough food for itself, so exports are a moot point as there is no extra and the cost is too high. Seems pretty simple. Mmmm Japanese rice ¥¥¥ or Japanese rice grown cheeper in another country? Same DNA just without mystical powers or huge subsidies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If Hatoyama and Kamei are against particpation, then it must be the right thing to do. Those two are both morons who have not a clue as to how to get Japan out of its economic malaise.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Same old tired arguments over and over - South Korea and other countries had to deal with the same challenges to their agriculture sectors and were able to get past it - so why not Japan... The big question / choice here is - accept TPP and most likely loose some agricultural jobs as an unfortunate but unavoidable consequence or reject TPP and face the inevitable loss of many more jobs in the manufacturing sector as J companies are forced to move production overseas because they will not be able to compete with products from SK and other countries that join TPP and benefit from 0 % import tariffs. Its Japan,s call to make - but I think its an almost forgone conclusion. Looking at the big picture Japan has much much more to loose by rejecting the TPP than accepting it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

US and Korea are signing a FTA now. That means J goods are going to become even more expensive that Korean goods in US. Already Korea has a 15 percent advantage. So what is more important to Japan, a farm industry that is dying off and is now only 2 percent of the population or Sony, Honda and Toyota.

Pretty easy to figure out what the right thing to do is, but that may not happen unfortunately. Kan would have made TPP pass but the current PM, big smokey loser it seems.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

xyberc

Should Japan block all imports in order to protect jobs?

Why yes, yes they should.

If someone else can provide a quality product at a low price, isn't that wonderful?

Not if it costs people their livelihood, and not if it destroys Japan's already fragile food security.

Why harm the majority for the few?

I'm sorry, but how is the majority harmed? If my apple costs 30% more but supports a local farmer, keeps him in a job, his family fed, his kids in school, is that a bad thing? It may cost me a bit more a year, but not that much. But the cost to that farmer to lose his job is huge

The consumers are robbed of their choices to subsidize for the farmers. Is that the right way?

How are you robbed of choices? What can't you get here? Is your life significantly harmed by not being able to get cheap beans from Vietnam? You really want to save a few hundred yen on your grocery bill and put people out of jobs? Really?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Globalisation does not benefit the common people.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

America too frequently, claims to be a world leader in the principles of the "free market" and "capitalist system" but when it comes to big business it behaves more like a European socialist country. $billions paid to bail out Wall St banks.

Americans every year pay $billions in subsidies to farmers and the Big Oil. Thousands of jobs lost to manufacturers moving their operations overseas. Once busy towns turning into ghost towns.

If America wants a TPP agreement with Japan and the lifting of food import tariffs within 10 years, then it's only fair that it also stops the farm subsidies.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

zurcronium

if you want join the corporate world order and subject yourself to a system that basically eliminates independence and individualism, well, i suppose there's a certain amount of security in that.

on the other hand, just as your posting prioritizes the interests of the corporations in a manner such that it identifies the interests of the corporations with the interest of the people, i.e., workers at the corporations, that is a road to ruin the way i see it.

you are adopting a spurious and hazardous modus operandi in identifying the interests of the people in terms of the interest of the corporations.

the people have to regulate the corporations through their representative form of government. the corporations are trying to undermine that system, co-opting it for themselves, as if they were the defacto representatives of their workers. it sounds like a "company store" model to me.

the identification of the interests of the people with the interests of corporations is a false identification.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's a common misconception that the TPP doesn't allow Japan to support it's farmers. Instead of duties on imports, Japan will have to move to direct subsidies of the farmers. In terms of macroeconomic costs, it doesn't make a difference. The food self sufficiency of Japan can be kept independent from joining the TPP. Japan should do both, join the TPP and finally do it's homework in agricultural reforms, which long overdue anyway...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

To pawatan - I totally agree with you.The members of the DPJ that are favorable to TPP agreement has not is ability Manage a grocery store.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pro-TPP, here is why: -JP govt will make direct subsidy payments to farmers--farmers won't lose out -No one in JP will buy their own products anyways--radiation-tainted, shrinking population, aging population--so sell it elsewhere. someone will buy it overseas -Need for joining in the international community. Japan has been on itself for too long and always standoffish. Time to build relationships and not have the same continuous "island mentality." Also, Japan in general is always resistant to change and historically xenophobic. It's time to grow up and get out of your shell, Hatoyama and co.

Protectionism is a form of state government control. It will never win out.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Also, Japan in general is always resistant to change and historically xenophobic. It's time to grow up and get out of your shell, Hatoyama and co.

Hatoyama is several PMs ago! Why is "resistance to change" a bad thing when that change will destroy your agricultural sector? Seems like something that should be resisted. I'm sure the American blue collar worker would have loved some resistance to NAFTA.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

For a long time the Japanese have maintained a firm belief that everyone is more or less in middle class, with no one having anything to do with poverty. Japan hit a RECORD level of Poverty. Many Japanese, who cling to the popular myth that their nation is uniformly middle class, are further shocked to see that Japan's poverty rate, at 15.7 percent , was close to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's figure of 17.1 percent in the United States at $22,350 (total yearly income). But perhaps just as surprising is the Japanese government's admission that it had been keeping poverty statistics secretly since 1998 while denying there was a problem, despite occasional anecdotal evidence to the contrary. So the question is you are going to save Japan's dying farms, but do it on the backs of the poor? And what happens when Sony, Honda ,or Toyota moves factories to Vietnam so they can export to the US without tariffs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I strongly against the TPP talk.

I am willing to join Hatoyama, Kamei and other 100 lawmakers to say 'NO" to TPP.

The biggest loser will be Japan unless you are willing to give up an entire Japanese farm land forever.

Let me ask what would you do if the could use a food sanction against Japan? The TPP will make Japan very weak and dependent to world food supply.

The US may introduce another QE3 that would drive $$ cheaper and Yen more stronger. I will assure you that the TPP will wipe out entire Japanese economic foundamentals. Look at what is going on Euro economy.

I need to emphasize that this may be a good idea for Japanese consumers, but not a good idea for a Japanese long term security issue.

Japan was forced into the WWII due to UN led oil embargo. I hope you have not forgotten that history.

Please read the following weblink if you want to learn more on this issue: pro/con of TPP.

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T111018005383.htm

Again, I STRONGLY AGAINST TPP.

Hope for Japan

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I need to emphasize that this may be a good idea for Japanese consumers, but not a good idea for a Japanese long term security issue. Japan was forced into the WWII due to UN led oil embargo. I hope you have not forgotten that history.

@ globalwatcher

First THE UN WASN'T MADE UNTIL AFTER WWII IN 1945 The United States did not view Japan's intrusion into China as favorable to its own interests in the area, and thus economic frictions between US and Japan arose. At the time, Japan relied 80% of its resources, including oil, indispensable at the time, to the US. The Embargo was started BECAUSE JAPAN WENT TO WAR.

Second- You are posting a link that has more pros than cons for most domestic industries.

Third- Look what happen after WWII you had a huge surge by Japanese to take advantage of the new Markets and made Japan into the Export giant it is today. Its that Japanese drive that will help Japan to grow even more if they join the TPP. Globalwatcher is telling us that they are weak now and if they join the TPP Japan will give up all its farm land forever. I don't think that is the case Japan has not lost its drive, they are still strong the TPP will not kill Japanese farms it will only make them more efficient.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thank you for correcting my poor memory of WWII history. I still believe Japan should not place itself in that situation again.

The U.S. stopped selling oil to Japan in July of 1941, which was part of the motivation for the attack from Japanese perspective. US was their major oil supplier, and the shippments were stopped in protest of Japanese invasion of French Indo-China.

I don't think that is the case Japan has not lost its drive, they are still strong the TPP will not kill Japanese farms it will only make them more efficient.

Unfortunately, I disagreed. I have just paid $,99/lbs for broccoli, grapes. $22,99/25lbs for New Crop Kokuho Rose Koda farm from California. Brussel Sprout $1.49/lbs, Ribeye Steak $5.99/lbs. Plese keep it mind that the exchange rate between $$ and Yen is around $76 today. The Fed may introduce QE3 that is still pending.

Please tell me if the Japanese farmers even have a chance before even making themselves more efficient. The problem in Japan is the benefit will not be pass on to the consumers as we hope. The middle man (importers) keep the benefit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

deflation is a decrease in the general price level of goods and services

inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services

Quantitative easing can be used to help ensure inflation does not fall below target. Risks include the policy being more effective than intended in acting against deflation, and thereby causing higher inflation, or of not being effective enough

American Farms do not work in a bubble, if QE3 happens the price of production will go up, and farmers will be forced to pass on that cost, for example potash, (which is imported) fuel, steel cost would be more for farmers. So the price of "broccoli" would go up and most farmers would not be able to grow as much. In Yen terms the price would stay about the same. When Japan did its rounds of QE it had little effect in the US.

I'm not saying all of Japans farms will make it, but Japan does grow high quailty fruit and beef, and those farms would be able to take avantage of the new markets. Others would be forced to increase quality or become more efficient. Being able to get food from many sources is security, the food shortage after the earthquake was proof of that.

The importers do not keep the benefits, with cheaper goods consumers have more money to spend which helps everyone. More trade means a more balanced exchange rate. Japan is still suffering from an economic crisis that hit the country in 1989-90, when the "bubble economy" of high land prices and high stock market prices collapsed. The government has repeatedly tried to stimulate the economy by spending money on public works. Japan already has near zero interest rates. Now with a strong yen how is Japan going to increase exports??? I'm not saying that Japan doesn't have a choice..... there just are not many thing left to do.... TPP is one thing that could save Japan.

As a side note during the Great Depression countrys with less trade restrictions came out of the depression faster.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As a side note during the Great Depression countrys with less trade restrictions came out of the depression faster.

Old US economic model (defense focused industry) benefited to jump start economy when the WWII broke out.

The importers do not keep the benefits,

Youj tell me why Japanese are paying higher gas price while the oil price went down to $85? The benefit of strong yen and low commodity price are not helping Japanese consumers.

I am not happy with NAFTA. Look at a job loss in US.

US auto industry went to Toronto Canada and Tijuana Mexico. One of 7 workers in US had a job related to auto industry. You need to tell me if we did a good job.

Japanese auto industry has already moved manufacturing plants to US China, S. America and Europe while US moved to Russia and China. So these industries do not get a blow as well as Japan farmers. As a matter of fact, Japanese auto industry was forced to move manufacturing plants to US when US introduced so called a "Super 360 Tariff" against Japanese industry to protect US auto industry. Japan did a good job to change a lemon to a lemonade IMHO. So most Japanese cars in US are now made in USA creating jobs for Americans.

I foresee the dollar will continue to decline in value to 50 -56 yen per $$ when QE3 is introduced. Again, I am strongly against TPP. Japanese farmers will have NO CHANCE and the farm land will be sold to developers for golf courses.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Globalisation does not benefit the common people.

Zichi, how well said in a short sentence. Yes, yes, and yes to your comment here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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