October 6, 2015
Following a news report that 12 countries, including Japan and the United States, negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade pact in Atlanta have “basically agreed to conclude the negotiations”, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on October 6 issued a statement demanding that the Japanese government withdraw from the TPP without signing the agreed upon deal.
The full text of the statement is as follows:
– Today, after a ministerial meeting held in Atlanta, Georgia, 12 nations negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade framework announced that they have reached a “broad agreement”.
The Abe administration gave top priority to reach an “early conclusion” to the TPP talks and repeatedly made compromises with the United States. In terms of rice, it is reported that preferential quotas will be provided to the U.S. and Australia, which will increase Japan’s rice imports drastically. It is also reported that a special import quota will be set to increase imports of dairy products and that tariffs on imported beef and pork will be abolished after a drastic decrease in the tariff rate. This indicates that the Abe government abandoned its public promise to protect Japan’s key products as exceptions in the TPP talks. On the other hand, regarding the tariffs on automobiles, although Japan imposes no tariffs on U.S. automobiles, America even in the conclusion this time said that tariffs on Japan-made vehicles will be eliminated “in accordance with the longest staging period in the TPP negotiations”.
What the “broad agreement” shows is that the TPP will sell off to the U.S. and multinational corporations Japanese people’s interests and Japan’s economic sovereignty in such fields closely related to people’s daily lives and businesses as local economies and employment, agriculture, health care and insurance, food safety, and intellectual property, which is unacceptable.
– In addition, it is also abnormal that the Japanese government reached this “broad agreement” through secret negotiations without providing the general public with information, including Japan’s proposals and demands from counterparts, even though the free trade pact will seriously affect a wide range of the Japanese economy. A 2013 Diet resolution, which the ruling Liberal Democratic Party itself endorsed, clearly states that the government should keep the Diet informed of information obtained through the negotiations and that the government should provide sufficient information to the general public in order to help foster public discussions on this issue. The Abe government justly deserves criticism for conducting negotiations in a manner that totally and recklessly disregards the general public and the Diet resolution.
– Although the 12 nations reached a “broad agreement”, the TPP negotiations have yet to be finalized. Before the free trade pact takes effect in Japan, an agreement document needs to be drafted, signed, and ratified by the member countries and approved by Japan’s Diet. The JCP demands that the Japanese government immediately withdraw from the drafting of the agreement document and refrain from signing it.
Once it becomes clear that the Abe government made to the U.S. major concessions which will pose a threat to food safety and seriously damage the Japanese economy and people’s livelihoods, public opposition to the TPP will further increase.
The Abe government is being cornered as citizens are raising voices against the TPP and other anti-people policies of the government, such as the enactment of the war legislation, the restart of nuclear reactors, the construction of a new U.S. base in Okinawa, and the consumption tax rate increase. In collaboration with a wide range of people, the JCP will do its utmost to block the TPP.