Rallies both for and against Japan's possible participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks were held in Tokyo on Wednesday.
The government of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has said it will make a decision on whether to join the U.S.-led Pacific-wide free trade zone by the Nov 12-13 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, meeting in Honolulu.
The U.S., Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Peru are negotiating to join the TPP bloc, which brings together Chile, New Zealand, Brunei and Singapore.
Japanese farmers are vehemently opposed to joining out of fear that food imports would ruin them. A group of 3,000 farmers, belonging to the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, and 161 lawmakers met in Hibiya Park. The farmers then marched in front of government offices in Kasumigaseki, carrying banners denouncing the TPP and accusing the government of abandoning the agricultural sector and ignoring their opinions.
Meanwhile, some 400 supporters of Japan's participation in the TPP held a symposium at a Tokyo hotel and urged the ruling Democratic Party of Japan to join the agreement. The group, which included academic and corporate leaders, said delaying the decision to join the TPP will widen the gap between Japan and its competitors in the global market.© Japan Today