Big anti-TPP rally held in Tokyo as deadline for decision looms

TOKYO —

Opponents of Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks held a big rally in Tokyo on Saturday.

The rally coincided with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s return from a G20 meeting in Cannes, France, where he indicated that he would decide on Japan’s participation in the talks by next Thursday.

Noda is under intense pressure to make a decision before the two-day APEC summit that starts in Hawaii on Nov 12. He has hinted on more than one occasion that he favors Japan joining the talks.

Saturday afternoon’s anti-TPP rally included several lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties, as well as hundreds of farmers and consumer activists.

Marching around the Diet building, they demanded that the Japanese government not make a hasty decision and take into account the views of agricultural communities which fear their livelihoods will be lost to cheap imports.

Japan Today

  • 0

    Newsman

    "Not make a hasty decision" = Don't decide anything, period.

  • 3

    sillygirl

    nothing is ever decided here. meetings to discuss meetings to have meetings to think about decisions. what a joke.

  • -1

    Yubaru

    I for one hope that Noda decides to join, however if he does it wouldn't surprise me one bit at all if he ends up having to step down as PM because of it.

  • -4

    thepro

    Japan should just shut itself off from the world once more. That's what they really all want.

  • 3

    paulinusa

    Several lawmakers and hundreds of farmers is how you quantify a "big rally"? Maybe in Japan.

  • 0

    pawatan

    Japan should remain smart and not go anywhere near those talks.

  • 5

    Yubaru

    Japan should remain smart and not go anywhere near those talks.

    And why is that? Let the farmer's here continue to live in luxury with abnormally high subsidies, make the consumers pay far too much for fruits and vegetables, keep production of farm products back in the dark ages?

    Japan can not afford to not join IF it has any concerns at all for the 120,000,000 million or so "regular" folks that are forced into paying too much for food.

  • 0

    Newsman

    @paulinusa: Good point! Estimates of the September rally in Tokyo against nuclear power ranged from twenty thousand to sixty thousand participants. Now that was a BIG rally!

  • 1

    pawatan

    Let the farmer's here continue to live in luxury with abnormally high subsidies, make the consumers pay far too much for fruits and vegetables, keep production of farm products back in the dark ages?

    Farmers living in luxury? You must live in a different Japan than I do.

    Consumers paying too much for fruits and vegetables? Japan joins the TPP and a lot of farmers in Japan will be unemployed. You want that? You want your cheap apples that much?

  • 4

    Hide Suzuki

    @pawatan, Yes, I actually do want more affordable fruits and vegetables :). Agriculture is just not Japan's strength. Why do we need to protect farmers that make up only 1% of Japan's GDP ? We should focus on what we are good, at technology, automobiles etc. And yes, I do believe that Japan should join TPP

  • 5

    Nicky Washida

    Keep out of the TPP and let 120,000,000 people continue to bear the burden of high prices and inefficiency so a small group whose average age is 68 can continue their outdated practices and supply rubbish food at high prices with no competition forcing them to change? Doesnt sound sensible to me, and if they were doing a good job they would feel far less threatened than they are.

    All they need to do is start a "Buy Japanese"campaign - the same ones as the "Buy British/Australian/American" campaigns. Most people here are so terrified of non-Japanese food, theyll probably find they wont lose much business anyway.

    This to me represents so much more than just the TPP - it is a metaphor for a small group having absolute power and being able to hold the whole country to ransom for their own personal power and benefit.

  • 8

    Yubaru

    Farmers living in luxury? You must live in a different Japan than I do.

    Consumers paying too much for fruits and vegetables? Japan joins the TPP and a lot of farmers in Japan will be unemployed. You want that? You want your cheap apples that much?

    So what you are saying is that we have to continue paying overly high prices for food, subsidize, through taxes, their unwillingness to improve their methods of farming and pay higher prices at the checkout line all in the name of keeping them employed?

    I would rather see lower food costs, better use of farm land, improvements in production, and no payments to any farmers for their products. Time to wake up to the facts that we in Japan pay too much for everything due to outdated policies.

    The smart ones will adapt, the ones that are unwilling will go unemployed, just like what the rest of us face daily in our regular jobs. Time for farmers to wake up and smell the coffee.

  • 1

    pawatan

    The smart ones will adapt, the ones that are unwilling will go unemployed, just like what the rest of us face daily in our regular jobs. Time for farmers to wake up and smell the coffee.

    As I have said before, farmers will never, ever be able to "adapt" enough to compete with farmers from Vietnam or Malaysia who have no problems living on 20-30,000 a month. We're not talking about competition with the US or South Korea only here.

  • 4

    anglootaku

    Breaking of monopolies on domestic agriculture.. however Japanese farmers now have a larger export market for their produce abroad.. so its a win win situation.. It will also benefit ALL industries without large tariffs, taxes and media defamation..

  • 5

    Nicky Washida

    As I have said before, farmers will never, ever be able to "adapt" enough to compete with farmers from Vietnam or Malaysia who have no problems living on 20-30,000 a month. We're not talking about competition with the US or South Korea only here.

    Neither could UK farmers compete with those in southern Europe for the same reasons when we joined the EU - but they adapted and survived. Why cant J farmers do the same?

  • 0

    Jared Norman

    Japan should just deregulate the farming industry, let the farmers acquire more land

  • 1

    Terry Tibbs

    Yubaru is 100 percent correct. These farmers make a fortune while the general population get slugged with overpriced goods. Do you realy want to fork out extra hard earned cash flow with the upcoming 5% tax rise to pay for around 500¥ for 2 tomatoes? What an utter load of horse feaces it would be to suggest otherwise. I like Japan and its elderly population just as much as my own countries (Britain & Australia), however it is the same back home, this country will be better off when all the power and money driven older nihonjinrin politicians and the like become extinct via a comet of revolution and adaption. Generally thinking outside the square is extremely beneficial in all aspects of your life and it would help the Japanese people in many aspects of there life if they did this.

  • 0

    globalwatcher

    however Japanese farmers now have a larger export market for their produce abroad..

    No chance, Kokuho Rice (new crop) here in US is $22.99/20lbs and they are excellent. I remember I paid Y3,500/1 kg bag or rice in Depaato while I was there 7 months ago. FYI

  • 0

    Terry Tibbs

    Aspects of their life * should have checked the preview but regardless of grammatical errors I think you catch my drift!

  • -1

    issa1

    This is inheritance that ""OBAKA-SAN LOOPY hatoyama"" is the clowns of the dpj will leave for all japanese.

  • 2

    pawatan

    Neither could UK farmers compete with those in southern Europe for the same reasons when we joined the EU - but they adapted and survived.

    The standard of living in Southern Europe is way, way higher than that of Vietnam or Malaysia. Nobody is making a comfortable living on a few-man a month like they are in Vietnam. Please explain how can a farmer in Japan compete in price with commodities from countries where the costs are so low?

    Why cant J farmers do the same?

    Because they can't feed their families on less than 50,000 a month like a Vietnamese farmer can.

  • 1

    pawatan

    Terry Tibbs

    These farmers make a fortune while the general population get slugged with overpriced goods.

    Please explain what "make a fortune" means. Earning a living that supports your family? A decent wage? Last I checked young people are refusing to go into farming and moving to the cities instead - doesn't sound like they are making a fortune, does it?

  • 0

    YankeeX

    JA needs major reforms to improve its inefficiencies. Where in the world do farmers get paid to not produce as to keep prices high. Pricing subsidies only punish consumers. Land consolidation is needed as make JA substanible.Korea went through the same situation several years ago and are smiling now. Either way, the TPP is more than just about the 1% contribution JA makes. It's about the manufactors and exporters who drive this economy,that are really pushing for the TPP.

  • -1

    YankeeX

    Oh yea. Japanese farmers do not report their full earnings as to avoid taxes.just wanted to point this out.

  • -2

    Yubaru

    Please explain what "make a fortune" means. Earning a living that supports your family? A decent wage?

    Based upon the taxes that we here in Japan pay to subsidize their living. I sure as heck would love to have the government pay me (indirectly or directly for that matter) for the work that I do.

    The government here takes our taxes and pays it to the under-performing farmers and on top of that puts tariffs on imports to discourage imports. It also makes the farmers complacent and unwilling (stubborn) to improve and streamline their production methods to compete fairly on an open market.

    Prices are fixed, imports discouraged, free market policies not implemented, all in the name of keeping the farmers and their political donations flowing into the coffers of those making the decisions.

  • 3

    marcelito

    Nobody likes to see farmers unemployed... but as had been said a number of times they have to adapt.. Can't compete with some imported products ? Diversify, produce things that others don't, get together with others ,form forward thinking co- ops and improve your marketing, find new export markets willing to pay for perceived japanese quality superior to SE Asian produce ( plenty of cashed up customers in China , Singapore, HK, Middle East ) , think outside the square. If Japan doesn't join TPP lots more Japanese manufacturers will move production offshore and the number of unemployed workers will be much much higher than farmers could ever be... Do you want to see THAT ? This is about Japan as a whole , not just the farmers...

  • 2

    spudman

    Its a fact that every person in Japan pays 10,000 yen to support farmers who are inefficient and protectionist. That money goes to farmers, it is a direct handout by the government. Where is the free trade in that? Why should everybody in Japan pay money directly to the farmers? Bring on cheaper and healthier imports.

  • 2

    Antony Cudworth

    Unfortunately many Japanese people and possibly even some JT readers need reminding about the bigger picture. Japan is already only 41% self sufficient in food production, food imports are already a fact of life. Also Japanese agriculture accounts for only 4% of the GDP. If Japan doesn't join the TPP big companies like Honda, Toyota, Panasonic, Sony, et al can say goodbye to their US market share as American consumers will be buying Hyundai cars and Samsung and LG TVs and other electronic devices that have suddenly become a much more affordable option than their Japanese counterparts as Korean companies will no longer be paying the tariffs that Japanese companies will be. If that happens tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of jobs will go.

    My in-laws are farmers and while they know TPP will provide challenges for them they know it wont be the doombringer that the paid lobbyists are campaigning on. They know that there will still be a demand from some quarters for domestic produce and that by tailoring their crop choices to suit the marketplace they can not only survive but thrive as well.

  • 3

    globalwatcher

    No for TPP for Japan, I am afraid we will be wipe out all Japanese economic foundamentals. But if Japanese want to go for this, I have no problem with that.

    We can bring all powerful companies like Apple, investment bankings, mega banks, communications, advanced medical equipments, medicines, universities, low priced food, apparels, nursing homes, hospitals from USA. We can do it cheaper and better for Japanese. This is a great business opportunity for all Americans. We need a job.

  • -2

    issa1

    What amazes me most is the opportunistic attitude of americans - president obama is showing his true dark side but unfortunately he is just a stooge of the wall street bankers. Tomodaty operation, hein ???? Or tpp operation ??? The united states are already sending your bill to the japanese pay out.

  • 1

    Jannetto

    new export markets willing to pay for perceived japanese quality superior to SE Asian produce ( plenty of cashed up customers in China , Singapore, HK, Middle East ) ,

    -so true. In HK, places like Sogo and Citysuper (who are also in Shanghai and Taiwan) charge huge amounts for Japanese produce for the exact reasons Marcelito cites. Citysuper are in some of the priciest malls & are always very busy - it's not all Japanese produce but that's their main draw & it's amazing to see what people spend there. One born every minute.

    Please explain what "make a fortune" means. Earning a living that supports your family? A decent wage? Last I checked young people are refusing to go into farming and moving to the cities instead - doesn't sound like they are making a fortune, does it?

    My friend's dad in Hokkaido is retired farmer & has travelled overseas at regular intervals his whole life; he put 3 kids through college & money has never been a problem for him, even though he's under snow several months a year. His kids have not gone into farming for the usual reasons- boredom, basically: they want bright lights, big cities - and they don't worry about money because the old man has plenty.

  • 3

    pawatan

    Antony Cudworth

    If Japan doesn't join the TPP big companies like Honda, Toyota, Panasonic, Sony, et al can say goodbye to their US market share as American consumers will be buying Hyundai cars and Samsung and LG TVs and other electronic devices that have suddenly become a much more affordable option than their Japanese counterparts as Korean companies will no longer be paying the tariffs that Japanese companies will be.

    I don't quite follow the reasoning here - both Japanese and Korean car manufacturers generally make all cars for the US market in the US already specifically to avoid tariffs. I don't see how the TPP will change that one bit. I think the market for TVs and such is already shifted heavily to Chinese-made products (and brands) with people who want (perceived) quality already paying more for Japanese and to a lesser extent Korean brands. I doubt this will affect Japan's competitiveness in the US markets in these industries so much.

  • 0

    pawatan

    Jannetto

    My friend's dad in Hokkaido is retired farmer & has travelled overseas at regular intervals his whole life; he put 3 kids through college & money has never been a problem for him

    Good for your friend's dad - he sounds like most middle class people I know. Secretaries I work with (making less than 300,000 a month) also travel overseas a few times a year. I'm glad your friend's dad can make a decent wage and have a happy life. I hope it doesn't change for farmers like him!

  • 0

    seesaw1

    I don't mind pricey Fuji apples... But cheaper grapes please...

  • 0

    globalwatcher

    What amazes me most is the opportunistic attitude of americans - president obama is showing his true dark side but unfortunately he is just a stooge of the wall street bankers

    issa1, you've got it. That's a plan. The Wall Street bankers want Japan Postal Savings money which is the largest in the world. Tons of money for reckless investment bankers and banking industry. Japanese are very ignorant and naive about their motive with TPP. I am still strongly against TPP to protect Japanese from being victims, though. But if a majority of Japanese want TPP, then I shrug and say "Shooganai ne."

  • 0

    LHommeQuiMent

    Consumers paying too much for fruits and vegetables? Japan joins the TPP and a lot of farmers in Japan will be unemployed. You want that? You want your cheap apples that much?

    Yes, yes and yes.

    On the average Japanese farmers are 65 years old and most of them do not have successors. Event Japan does not join TPP they don't have a bright future. Japanese agriculture and fishing industry makes only about 1.3% of gross national product but its share of the workforce is about 5%. Farming industry should decline. The sooner the better.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    One aspect that lies beneath the surface in the discussion about the agricultural side on whether or not to join TPP, but rarely openly discussed, is the belief by many farmers that they are the backbone on which this country runs. The LDP gained much of it's power thanks in a large part to the farmer's support financially and as a voting block.

    I get the feeling that the agricultural sector feels that the true identity of Japan will be lost if they are no longer the provider's of, in particular, rice, for the country.

    While I can understand and appreciate their cultural connection to the land, they also have to realize that time has passed them by and we are no longer in a world where they alone can feed the country. Imported food is a fact of life in Japan. There is so much more to the TPP besides agriculture but it comes across in much of the media as if it is the only thing that matters, and that is wrong.

    Sometimes a hard slap upside the head is necessary to wake a person up and get them into action and leave the status quo behind.

  • -3

    tmarie

    **take into account the views of agricultural communities which fear their livelihoods will be lost to cheap imports. **

    Heaven forbid those farmers, who use very outdated practices, have to compete with evil foreigners and evil gaikoku food. With the raise in tax coming, Japan would be crazy not to sign up to this and allow more competitive prices. 100 yen for ONE apple is highway robbery but we all suck it up as there are no other options. Same goes with all the rest of the fruit and veg we get here. Low quality, not tasty but all we can get.

    The UK turned their farms around by going organic and have done rather well with it. High standards for safety and quality and they're making mint. Thing is, I don't expect the Japanese farmers to do it. too old, stubborn and stuck in their ways. Yet, it is us, the consumers, that pay the price for it.

    I personally would welcome more organic options here - and I mean organic, not the crap they try and pass off as organic because Baba up the street grew it using god knows what chemicals.

    Would also support foreign imports coming in as I think it would clean up the standards here of food. lacking so much that Japanese food quality has become a joke.

  • 0

    minello7

    Japan reminds me of a hospital ward bed,just close the curtains round the island , and we can't be a part of whats going on in the rest of the world. I believe there are those in power, whose minds and thinking are stuck in a time warp , and want isolation for Japan. Scary thing is , they may succeed, because thats what will happen if they don't join the TPP.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    100 yen for ONE apple is highway robbery

    I would be happy to pay 100 yen for a decent apple. Decent one's here for me cost 4 to 5 times that amount!

  • -3

    BlueWitch

    Saturday afternoon’s anti-TPP rally included several lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties, as well as hundreds of farmers and consumer activists.

    Screw them! I'm sick and tired of these old people ruining this country. This is NOT Edo period anymore. Get with the times, whining old people!

  • -3

    BlueWitch

    @Hide Suzuki

    @pawatan, Yes, I actually do want more affordable fruits and vegetables :). Agriculture is just not Japan's strength. Why do we need to protect farmers that make up only 1% of Japan's GDP ? We should focus on what we are good, at technology, automobiles etc. And yes, I do believe that Japan should join TPP

    良かったね, welcome to the "common sense" club. おめでとう!

  • -2

    Jared Norman

    The farmers are not even using all of japans farmland, they should stop compaining

  • -2

    issa1

    Politicians the dpj are trying to compensate the error of futenma in exchange for the signing the agreement tpp. Prime minister noda will have to carry omiyague for obama.

  • -2

    Nicky Washida

    Please explain how can a farmer in Japan compete in price with commodities from countries where the costs are so low?

    Please explain why the whole country should subsidise these few people who cant/wont move with the times?

    But to answer your question: see Marcelito and tmaries posts above - they said pretty much everything I would say but in a nutshell: diversification, cooperation, niche marketing (eg organic), "buy Japanese" campaign and so on. If the farmers are so sure about what they produce and how they produce it, why are they even worried about the competition? Let the consumers decide what they want - Japanese or foreign?

  • 0

    Nicky Washida

    Japan should review its constitution and return it to the MEIJI-ERA mold and build their own atomic bomb.

    Yeah, cos thats REALLY going to help the country advance - NOT!

  • 1

    wtfjapan

    farmers are just plain selfish, only account for 1% of GDP but consume more than 5% $50billion of the annual budget which is funded by the Japanese tax payer, needs to be major reform for this welfare industry.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    If the farmers are so sure about what they produce and how they produce it, why are they even worried about the competition?

    Because eventually all the subsidies would dry up as well. Who is going to purchase their products when one would be able to get pretty much the same thing at 50% or even less?

  • -2

    Nicky Washida

    Because eventually all the subsidies would dry up as well.

    Why would their subsidies dry up? If they are going to dry up, surely they will dry up anyway, regardless of whether we join the TPP? Or is it because they will have less power to demand the subsidies?

    Who is going to purchase their products when one would be able to get pretty much the same thing at 50% or even less?

    Japanese who are afraid of foreign produce? Japanese who support a "Buy Japanese" campaign? But quite honestly even if people do buy based on cost alone - again why should an entire country be held to ransom by a small group of ageing farmers who contribute so little to overall GDP but absorp such a relatively high proportion of government money?

  • -1

    tmarie

    Yubaru, indeed decent one cost more. I refuse to pay for them though so crappy 100 yen apples it is. The quality of oranges sucks too, I won't start on the crappy veggies and how the grocery stores water the crap out of them so they go bad quickly.

  • 1

    cwhite

    Why would Japan want to join TPP at this time? The TPP covers a broad range of areas, such as medical services, financial services and government procurement. It is not simply an agreement for trade liberalization. Nobody seems to talk about things like insuarance, financial and medical standards. In my job I already see first hand the US Insurance companies cntrolling the Japan market for insurance premiems. Imagine if they pushed US medical standards on to Japan with the same pilicies destroying the universal healthcare insurance system (not that any expats could care less). TPP will create a society in which people cannot receive necessary medical services due to low income.

    In the United States, people basically pay for medical treatment out of their own pocket. I am afraid that part of Japan's public medical insurance system may crumble if the United States calls on Japan to authorize a combination of medical treatments covered and uncovered by public medical insurance. The United States could also attack a legally established system that gives preferential treatments to local contractors when awarding local public works projects.

    So far, government estimates say joining the trade pact would increase GDP by 0.54 percent, or ¥2.7 trillion, over the next 10 years, with roughly half that amount coming from an increase in exports to the U.S. "The ultimate goal of the United States is to reshuffle the existing economic paradigm in the Asia-Pacific region, to replace ASEAN's leadership and to lead the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum through the TPP," If tariff levels are set too low, Japan will have crossed a bridge with no return and it will be a prisoner to one system. For example, what happens if the producing country suddenly becomes bellicose with the other and halts food shipments, or shuts off exports due to production problems as in the case of the world 2010 wheat crisis?

    The point of all this is that food and agricultural commodities are not immune to use as weapons, deterrents and threats in policy application. In effect, with its technical and infrastructure development in agricultural and food production, China will increasingly have the power to influence trade decisions and leverage that power as it develops economically. This is not to denigrate China. Rather, it is to point out the reality that simply relying on any country to be a "good neighbor" or "to do the right thing and be nice" is unrealistic.

    Conversely, the Japanese government has an obligation to its citizens to ensure they do not confront trade prisoner risk. The most compelling reason to avoid signing the TPP is that in deliberately giving away what remains of its food security Japan will lose the respect of China. Doing so will have dire consequences for its position in East Asian relations. When you take a look at an area encompassing Japan, China, South Korea and ASEAN, 60 percent of trade is carried out within the area. The United States and Australia have been pushing the TPP lest they should be left behind from the economic integration in East Asia. But China will not join the TPP, and South Korea, which has moved ahead of Japan in forging free trade agreements, is not expected to join it before Japan does.

    According to the Asian Development Bank, the net benefit for opening the nation’s economy and society to the heavy hand of US regulations will boost the Japanese economy by 1% of Japan’s GDP. That works out to about $55 billion. Japan … at fire sale prices. The Japanese people should note that while the government keeps focusing on the politically powerful farm sector, nearly every aspect of life in Japan will be affected by the TPP and controlled to some extent by US law. The Japanese government will not be able to enact legislation to reverse any part of the TPP in the future. However, future changes in US law will have to be adopted by Japan, making this opening about as traumatic for Japan as the last two … and perhaps even more unequal than the last two. $55 billion seems awfully cheap for a nation’s sovereignty.

  • -1

    JapanGal

    There are so few Farmers, that they are not the backbone of the LDP any more and should not be listened to. It is a sham and a shame that these old people control this country.

    First change should be to make a two hour daylight savings time. Tokyo is too close to the edge of the date/time line. Move the damn thing. I hate the sun sleeping at 4:30 pm now in November. And I hate it waking up at 3:30 am in the month of June.

    Join the TPP

  • 1

    mr_jgb

    Whatever the decision the gigantic subsidies to agriculture interests/farmers must stop asap. Japan is almost bankrupt. No more subsidies for inefficiency and high costs domestic produce. City folks and others cannot afford to subsidise farmers (4%), with trillions of Yen every year.

  • -1

    Yubaru

    Why would their subsidies dry up? If they are going to dry up, surely they will dry up anyway, regardless of whether we join the TPP? Or is it because they will have less power to demand the subsidies?

    The government would not be able to justify paying the subsidies to the farmers due to the fact that imported products would replace what the locals had been growing. They wouldn't dry up if the current situation stays in place.

    again why should an entire country be held to ransom by a small group of ageing farmers who contribute so little to overall GDP but absorp such a relatively high proportion of government money?

    Quite so, people with the money would probably continue to purchase the higher products, however the average Japanese consumer stands to gain so much more besides agriculture products alone from joining the TPP.

  • -1

    just-a-guy

    Mr Noda'sTPP dream was a death wish for his own and his party! he has ignored the resentment from the japanese farmers who were 'untouchables' when things matters agricultural imports to Japan! For him he just focus on using the TPP as a bargaining chip to deal with China that Japan could get out of Chinese market to somewhere else! Now he has pissed off a nest of killer bees(Japanese farmers)!

  • -2

    issa1

    To globalwatcher - First,sorry for my poor english. The problem japan lives now and the omission the mass media and relevant news of the national interest are never show in full - There is always cutting and manipulating contents. And What about of figures as massayoshi son who has strong influence on asahi tv ??? You are correct in saying that japanese are naive and ignorant.

  • 0

    pawatan

    Japanese who are afraid of foreign produce? Japanese who support a "Buy Japanese" campaign?

    It's unworkable. Restaurants and other places that buy food wholesale will have to buy cheaper foreign foods to be competitive. Individuals may be able to make choices for their own cooking but not for most prepared foods. It will be the death of the Japanese farmer, by and large.

    If you have no problem with putting a million or so out of work, fine. Of course you will have these people on public assistance, then. They will contribute nothing to society, and the migration from inaka to the cities will be even more pronounced. Higher rents in the cities with fewer vacancies. There's repercussions here.

  • 0

    Mizuame

    TPP will force the modernization and efficient operation of Japan's agriculture. Japan has a lot to offer world in agriculture, just as it has done in electronics and automotive. The current closed market is blocking rationalization and innovation, but there is now the opportunity for change.

  • 0

    Nicky Washida

    If you have no problem with putting a million or so out of work, fine.

    First, they wont necessarily be out of work. They may continue following one of the suggestions given above, or move into other things. We are already talking about people largely past retirement age anyway.

    Of course you will have these people on public assistance, then.

    They already are. As one person stated above, they receive about 5% of the government budget in subsidies.

    They will contribute nothing to society, and the migration from inaka to the cities will be even more pronounced.

    Why would someone in their 60s, or 70s, past retirement age, migrate to the city? If they have planned properly they can live cheaply in the country, receive a pension and still farm for themselves and their local community should they choose to.

    Higher rents in the cities with fewer vacancies

    Dont see it happening for the reasons given above.

    . There's repercussions here.

    There are some yes, but there are also repercussions in keeping things the way they are, and continuing the status quo benefits the minority, not the majority, like many other policies in this country, hence my pro-TPP stance.

  • -1

    issa1

    To CWHITE -

    No need to say anything more. Congratulations

  • 1

    pawatan

    Nicky

    There are some yes, but there are also repercussions in keeping things the way they are, and continuing the status quo benefits the minority, not the majority

    I would argue it benefits the majority as well as a minority. Japan already has a food security problem - we do not produce enough food. If we import an even higher percentage of our foodstuffs than we do now we become less secure.

    Besides, all public assistance, anywhere, benefits a minority over a majority, doesn't it? Most people aren't on disability, or government assistance, or in need of Hello Work, are they? One could just as easily argue that we the majority taxpayers shouldn't be paying for this either as it does not directly benefit us.

    Why would someone in their 60s, or 70s, past retirement age, migrate to the city?

    Of course they likely wouldn't, but younger people would not take over their farms, either, as they could not afford to do so. As people pass on the urban/rural divide grows, and with fewer jobs in inaka people become poorer.

  • 2

    pawatan

    I'll also say I cannot argue the fact that Japan's agriculture needs to become more efficient and prices should be lower to consumers. I just don't think gutting the farms and outsourcing all food production to poor countries in SE Asia is the way to do it.

  • 0

    Darren Brannan

    About 100 ppl walked through namba today yelling and waving hinomaru flags. I read their placards and it was anti DPJ, anti North Korea, anti-foreigners rights, anti- immigration..pro kosekitohon.. In other words all the usual right wing smeg that the LDP has encouraged forever with very little tangible benefit. I saw a lot of people and their dogs wanting to keep Japan down rather than helping Japan move forward.Just building supercomputers won't help Japan become a more global society or help it compete against it's neighbours. I am not a major fan of globalisation, but I don't believe anachronism is the answer either. Although I must add (to be fair) that food here is generally cheaper than Australia in my opinion. IF you shop sensibly. Rice is way too expensive however.

  • 0

    gogogo

    I'm for the consumer on this, they need to buy the cheapest and then they will have more money to spend on other industries.

  • -2

    issa1

    Subscribe to this treaty and will commit be political suicide - then you have to resign,mr noda !

  • -1

    borscht

    Many of the arguments put forth by the anti-TPP people mirror the arguments put forth by people who opposed opening Japan to foreign cars: loss of jobs, can't compete on price, et al. And Toyota was smaller than Nissan and Honda. Now it's bigger than GM.

    One thing opening the car market accomplished for Japanese makers was it allowed, encouraged even, them to export their more expensive products, which sold well enough that they could open plants in other countries. And look how many foreign cars you see on the streets.

  • 2

    Yubaru

    This is probably a very poor analogy but I can't help myself in thinking that the Japanese attitude about TPP is similar to the Tokugawa Shogun's facing Perry and his dreaded black ship. Open up or else!

    The farmers of today are the bakufu and the black ship is the TPP. We all know the end of THAT story!

  • 0

    BlueWitch

    @Yubaru

    This is probably a very poor analogy but I can't help myself in thinking that the Japanese attitude about TPP is similar to the Tokugawa Shogun's facing Perry and his dreaded black ship. Open up or else!

    The farmers of today are the bakufu and the black ship is the TPP. We all know the end of THAT story!

    Right on!! (^_^)

  • 0

    BlueWitch

    @Darren Brannan

    About 100 ppl walked through namba today yelling and waving hinomaru flags. I read their placards and it was anti DPJ, anti North Korea, anti-foreigners rights, anti- immigration..pro kosekitohon.. In other words all the usual right wing smeg that the LDP has encouraged forever with very little tangible benefit. I saw a lot of people and their dogs wanting to keep Japan down rather than helping Japan move forward.Just building supercomputers won't help Japan become a more global society or help it compete against it's neighbours. I am not a major fan of globalisation, but I don't believe anachronism is the answer either. Although I must add (to be fair) that food here is generally cheaper than Australia in my opinion. IF you shop sensibly. Rice is way too expensive however.

    Yeah yeah, the usual SMEGMA yelling nonsense when MOST common folk just walk by and pay zero attention to them, blame the corrupted government scum, LDP, Sakurai Makoto and the usual suspects.

    Shame on this country once again. Utter disgrace as always.

  • 0

    Elbuda Mexicano

    Smegma?? Long time since I heard that word but I do agree with Blue Witch, Yubaru and all, just that farmers here in Japan have way too much power because they were always behind the LDP and the LDP was always behind the farmers, but NOW the LDP is not that strong and just maybe with Minshuto, DPJ, we may get somewhere, but I am not crossing my fingers nor holding my breath nor smegma??

  • -2

    tmarie

    MOST common folk just walk by and pay zero attention to them That is one of the major problems in Japan though. They walk by and say nothing to these people about how crazy they are which allows them to have power. Why more people don't tell these disgusting people to shut up is beyond me. Head in sand, not "My" problem and walk on. It IS their problem as these groups are far more powerful than they should be.

  • 2

    Shumatsu_Samurai

    That is one of the major problems in Japan though. They walk by and say nothing to these people about how crazy they are

    That's actually the right response. The worse thing you can do is get drawn into an argument with these sorts of people. It would just encourage them more and give propaganda to their supporters that they were being "harrassed" by nogoodnicks.

    It's the approach we take in the UK to racists and Islamists. It only kicks off when people try to shout the nutters down. They're harmless if they're left talking to themselves.

  • 2

    Foxie

    I find this whole situation quite ironic. It seems to contradict what I thought were Japanese values. Be considerate, think about the company first, don't think about yourself but about the well being of the community. The famers are only a minority and it is true that they all make us pay horrendous prices for produce that isn't even healthy for us. Yet the electronic companies, the car companies etc. aren't saying a thing, They are the ones to suffer most, no, the whole economy will suffer greatly and as was said before, the whole world will buy Samsung. I do understand the anxiety of the farmers who are unfortunely mostly elderly people and wouldn't know how to change their farming styles. So, the government should set up a panel and teach them how to grow high quality organic produce. I am sure people would prefer buying those. Japan should take this chance and make agriculture of top healthy quality to make the whole world envious and buy those products.Instead of using those tarentos in useless shows, bring us shows about nutrition and where we could actually learn something instead of guessing real from fake AKB48 members. But I guess that is just my dream of a having a healthy population with a good economy giving a good future to our children.

  • 0

    shanks8532

    *> @pawatan It's unworkable. Restaurants and other places that buy food wholesale will have to buy cheaper foreign foods to be competitive. Individuals may be able to make choices for their own cooking but not for most prepared foods. It will be the death of the Japanese farmer, by and large.

    I see ready -made meal and menu in restaurants with domestic vegitables a lot in spite of the fact that Chinese vegitables have been imported on a big scale. I think it's because domestic crops can be a come-on to customeres. I personally think the merits the Japanese people except for farmers aquire though TPP seems to be more important in the long term as future of Japan is more like depending on those who are in Electronics or automobile industries. Also in general, when foreign products come into the Japanese markets, makers or companies try to make busines efforts to fight back otherwise, they die out. Why only farmers are protected by law. I hope people will just meet trouble halfway after joining TPP, as demands of domestic foods are still so high, the more foreign foods entered, the more demands it will be.

  • 1

    ExportExpert

    Draw the curtains close and lock the doors, get under the covers and hide under the pillow japan.

    If you dont join the Free trade agrrement you will be screwed, dont worry about these farmers who grow produce on a small plot of land the size of your average front yard (in NZ or Australia) they arnt really farmers anyway.

    Real farmers use acres and acres of fileds and grow real crops and farm animals, they dont just grow a cabbage, and a few daikon like here. These mug famrers here are subsidised to the hilt anyway time to kick them in touch. WAKE UP JAPAN !

  • 0

    Terry Tibbs

    Foxie NOV. 06, 2011 - 09:00PM JST

    I find this whole situation quite ironic. It seems to contradict what I thought were Japanese values. Be considerate, think about the company first, don't think about yourself but about the well being of the community. The famers are only a minority and it is true that they all make us pay horrendous prices for produce that isn't even healthy for us.

    It does indeed contradict Japans cultural core value of being considerate and beneficial for the whole population not just the minority. People need to step back and think about the overall picture here.

    For those opposed please let your eyes cop some bold print typed below...

    **** 5% TAX-RISE FOR EVERYONE 5% TAX-RISE FOR EVERYONE 5% TAX-RISE FOR EVERYONE 5% TAX-RISE FOR EVERYONE 5% TAX-RISE FOR EVERYONE 5% TAX-RISE FOR EVERYONE 5% TAX-RISE FOR EVERYONE 5% TAX-RISE FOR EVERYONE 5% TAX-RISE FOR EVERYONE 5% TAX-RISE FOR EVERYONE****

    That should do it. Now you can see why the average consumer has a little reason to complain about paying 500 yen for a below average tomato.

  • 0

    marcelito

    I don't get this obsession some people have with playing up self production/ food security as such a critical issue... Japan hasn't been fully sufficient for yonks as most agree and so what if the self production percentage decreases.. This is the 21 st century forg... s sake.. The world is more commercially interconnected then ever and it will become even more so... There will always be numerous countries willing to sell their agriculture produce to Japan.. We are not talking about rare earth materials here but food produce - any number of overseas suppliers available.. If you look at the fact that Japan has next to zilch supplies of oil , natural gas etc. that doesn't seem to negatively impact their manufacturing giants... And before the right wingers start chipping in I'm talking about the last few decades defined by globalization of business here not a pre WW2 situation... So this whole " we have to maintain our food security by producing X amount of Y in Japan" is a big baloney .. Plenty of other countries import most of their food and their security doesn't seem to be impacted to any extent... It's the 21 t century people

  • 2

    warnerbro

    The majority of farmers are either working at other jobs during the week or have retired therefrom. They work small plots of land in a terribly inefficient manner. I worked in a small municipal governments for 5 years. Almost all of the public employees, all of the 農協 employees, and almost all of the local construction company employees were "farmers." Their wives and elderly parents puttered around trimming weeds during the week and anything major was done on the weekends. Most had a plot of land roughly the size of an average backyard in a suburb of Vancouver. They took a day or two off at harvest time if necessary. For this they received guaranteed profits for their products and tax advantages on their property. The grandmothers and grandfathers would wander out every morning at dawn, dig up a few weeds and set them to smoulder, filling the air with smoke for the rest of the day, so they could pull up a few potatoes or harvest a few bags full of rice in the end. They would repeatedly douse their fields and their neighbours, for that matter, with pesticides. Children walked cheerily to and from school while the spray wafted around them. The "farmers" supported the local potentate's campaigns for construction projects to shave another meter off a mountain and plaster it in concrete or line any as yet unmolested creek bed in the same. Japan sorely needs to reform its farming industry.

    This issue comes at an inconvenient time. Some areas were just starting to create high quality brands that might have been competitive internationally, but nobody wants caesium laden produce now. At least with TPP we will eventually have greater access to unradiated foods for our children.

  • 2

    MeanRingo

    Just about anything the US champions is done so for the US' interests alone. As a Canadian, I have witnessed the way they played around with NAFTA. When something doesn't go their way (ie. softwood lumber) they just refuse to follow protocols and start a trade war of words (while continuing to close their eyes to protocols). These days, Canada's manufacturing jobs, like their medical brain trusts, are flying south faster than the geese. I would think twice about joining the TPP, as again, anything championed by the US is done so in their best interest. Not the best interests of all involved.

  • -1

    as_the_crow_flies

    @warnerbro. Amen! There you have it! I actually agree, from an environmental point of view, that countries should try to increase their food self-sufficiency. But, the opening of markets to force the agricultural sector to rationalise are also necessary. What they call co-ops here actually seem like cartels. A case in point. The word came down from JA that consumers were getting far too picky about their cesium and strontium intake and that a lot of farmers were finding it hard to offload their produce that consumers were not convinced was safe to eat. Rather than tackling this issue by calling in experts to help them run stringent testing, publishing the results, clear labelling and promotion of these scientific safety standards in supermarkets, they strongarmed the supermarkets into respecting farmers feelings by taking down prefecture of origin labelling of fresh vegetables. Now you need to take a microscope to the packaging and read the small print to find where your spinach is coming from. And just in case you get too canny, half the time it's not even labelled, or they mix Fukushima and Kanagawa cucumbers. Hah! And they lecture us about food security! How about food SAFETY!

    I have a lot of sympathy for the many farmers who do want to continue farming, know things need to change, and are ready to try another way. Why doesn't JA get the government to help with advisory services to set up true co-ops, change land-use laws if there's a need for re-zoning in some places e.g. areas in Tohoku damaged by the tsunami that they could change land-use in order to build in safer places, or make it easier to resolve land title issues that mean that a piece of land can't be used because of some age-old dispute. They could encourage immigration for young workers to set up businesses, set up training courses so they can reduce reliance on pesticides, organise machinery-sharing associations ...

    There must be a million and one practical ways to encourage revitalisation of agriculture.

    Another completely unadressed issue in this whole "food security" debate is the fact that the Japanese consumer has been trained over the last half century to expect fruit and veg that looks like plastic and tastes like cardboard. If there wasn't such massive food waste, then perhaps more people could get well fed from the food that's already being grown, but is being destroyed before it ever gets near a dinner table. Get the monopoly retailers out of the way and food security would probably go up by 20% overnight.

  • -3

    tmarie

    Fair point Shumatsu, but they don't complain about the noise from the black cars, don't complain about the propaganda nor the aggression. I don't actually expect them to have a face off with them but ignoring them just allows them to behave the way they do.

  • 1

    globalwatcher

    last two. $55 billion seems awfully cheap for a nation’s sovereignty

    cwhite, excellent post to read. Your cost/benefit analysis is excellent.

    Yes, Japan has a little to gain from TPP. I am very sadded to learn many Japanese PRO TPP failed to see the possible direct impact on economic and legal aspect on private (individual) and business (corporate) sectors.

    When Japan joins TPP, mega US banks, mega US insurance companies and mega investment bankers would dominate financial and insurance induestries in Japan. Then, they may demand Japanese government how to change laws to satisfy their needs to make a profit just like they are trying to do in US.

    Their objectives is to privatize Japanese National Health Care and Nenkin systems you guys worked very hard for them. Remember, they are careless about YOU.. Their ultimate objective is a PROFIT. They would trash your excellent systems like a toilet paper to a sewage drain. Just for your info, my health care MONTHLY premium (before retirement) was $1,068/month. I wounder how many Japanese can afford that? Nobody! There has been a tag of war on privatization of American SSI (NENKIN) initiated by US financial industry (Bank, Investment banking and Insurance) for decades. So far, they have been quiet since Obama being in Washington. Why do I know all about this? I have been in US financial industry all my life. I hope someone can warn about these possible outcomes properly to naive ignorant Japanese. They are coming to your doors!

    IMHO, TPP will burn down that firewall to protect Japanese citizens. US financial industry is salivating for dripping honey of Japan. You guys need to say "NO" to TPP. Do you trust the Wall Street who got all of us into this mess? Do you remember a Credit Default Swap? Do you know they are still dealing with Derivatives; a deadly cocktail?

    I am telling you this because I want to sleep with a clear concience every night.

  • 0

    MASSWIPE

    cwhite: Good comments. You provided substantive reasons for why Japan should not join the TPP. I'm not persuaded by simplistic arguments about the need for Japan to maintain a large trade surplus with the US, since Japan is an economically mature country with a low exports-to-GDP ratio. And while I don't dislike Japanese farmers, like all developed nations the agricultural sector in Japan is far too protected, at the expense of mostly developing nations that need greater access to the agricultural markets of rich countries. The US agricultural sector, it should be pointed out, arguably has a far worse impact on the world owing to the export of subsidized GM crops and the like to poorer countries. At least Japan doesn't dump its rice at rock-bottom prices in Cambodia and elsewhere, perversely turning such nations into net importers of their own staple crops.

    But if TPP means the destruction of Japan's relatively good system of universal health care, then by all means Japan should not sign onto TPP. Japan's health care system takes a lot of flak from people, but it's pretty good overall and needs to be improved rather than privatized and dismantled for the likes of Aetna and Eli Lilly.

  • 0

    globalwatcher

    cwhite, do you know a propensity of Japanese banking system?

    Do you have an insurance commissioner for each prefectres? Do you have any financial law enforcing institution against financial wrong doings (banking, investment banking and insrance) in Japan? If there is/are in Japan, the TPP will change all financial foundamentals and challenge their authority in question.

  • -1

    アメリ フセイン

    This is a global economy, does Japan want to close up on itself? Compete or perish!

  • -3

    just-a-guy

    Keep rallying the anti-TPP factionsand japanese farmers...Mr Noda has got to 'GO'! This man is not the right man to lead the nation!

  • 0

    globalwatcher

    アメリ フセイン, you do not have to post anything, but I would like to know if you are willing to jorpadize your low cost national health care and Nankin you will be promised to get in Japan? Yes or No. That's all I like to know.

  • 0

    nigelboy

    This is essentially a U.S-Japan FTA/EPA agreement forced upon Japan disguised as Trans Pacific nations kumbaya.

    Japan has already in place FTA agreements with six of the nine participants not including the current on going FTA negotiations Australia. Hence, the question now that should be raised is whether its beneficial for Japan to enter such arrangements with U.S. at this time during a deflationary spiral and high yen rates.

  • 0

    nstn123

    Where I came from and how I was raised, we respect farmers a lot for the hard work they do and the food they put on our tables.

  • -1

    Elbuda Mexicano

    Japan is TOO OLD, the old folks out in the fields will not live for ever! Soon, very very soon they will start kicking the bucket, no young Japanese want to live in the middle of no where Gunma, Shimane, Fukui etc..and wake up at 3 am to milk cows etc..pull daikons etc..so if Japan wants food, better to IMPORT not just the food, but all of my cousins back in Mexico who are hard workers and ready to pick your apples, grapes, etc..

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