Participation in the TPP scheme is one of the contentions focused in the coming general elections. The ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the Japan-Ishin-no-Kai are in favor, while the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito take an ambiguous stance. The Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party clearly oppose Japan's participation in this kind of free trade agreement.
The New Socialist Party sternly objects it.
PARTICIPATION MEANS SACRIFICES ON 99% OF PEOPLE
Ex-Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio was obliged to resign because of his position on several issues, including a hike of the consumption tax rate and objection to the TPP participation.
It is estimated that Japan will lose annually an amount of 4.1 trillion Yen in the agricultural production and will reduce a self-sufficiency rate in food production from 40% sharply down to 14% if the nation joins the program, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. It is easy for an ordinary person to decide on objection, seeing the figures, to say nothing of ex-Premier Hatoyama.
Loss of Eight Trillion Yen in Whole Agricultural Sector
Due to destructive outcomes in the domestic agricultural production, relevant implications, including preservation of land and natural environment, will be affected. The loss is estimated as 3.7 trillion Yen in money term. A prospect shows that local economies, communities and natural environment will be damaged.
Although the total 'loss in the national interests' is calculated as 8 trillion Yen solely in the agricultural sector, two Prime Ministers of the DPJ, namely, Premiers Kan and Noda, are eager to join the TPP scheme as well as other economic partnership agenda. It is because of the strong desire of the nation's financial circle which needs to expand export to the Asia-Pacific region where a good economic prospect is anticipated that may impact favorably on the growth strategy of Japan.
If the ruling circle wants to enhance trade activities with the nations in the Asia-Pacific region it could choose a bilateral FTA (=free trade agreement). The FTA is less harmful as the both parties are allowed to admit difficulties if they find hard to reduce tariffs in some trade areas and to cope with troubles mutually and flexibly.
The TPP scheme, however, is totally different. No exception is given in eliminating tariffs. All the agricultural products will be exposed to zero tariffs, including rice and dairy products which have been protected by the government with the maximum efforts. In Japan it costs 14 thousand Yen to produce 60 kg of rice, while in US, just a two thousand Yen level. No competition works. Everyone knows a consequence.
It is quite evident that farmers here will not be able to keep producing rice, which is a staple of Japanese, if the nation concludes the TPP agreement. In addition, the government of the United States, a strategic exporter of farm products, annually pays subsidies amounting 1 trillion Yen to rice producers so that the commodity may be exported cheaply. Meanwhile in Japan export subsidy is not paid.
Way of Living will be threatened
Relevant impacts will prevail in all the areas of people's life beyond the agricultural sector. Food safety, medical service and drugs, insurance, postal saving service, construction industry and migration of workers will face the rule of a zero threshold. In other words money, goods and people freely travel beyond the national borders. Repercussions and damages are immeasurable.
For instance, the TPP scheme has ISD (=Investor-State Dispute) clause. If a US insurance company files a suit to the International Court, claiming that 'the Japanese national health insurance system is a barrier in entering the market', the claim for damage will be approved and as a result the system itself may be ordered to be dismantled.
This is the essential point of the TPP scheme. That is, it exclusively allows the United States to implement full deregulation measures for the interest of 1% against that of 99%.
December 4, 2012