First import curb on agricultural produce

The government on April 10 decided to invoke tentative safeguards to curb imports of green onions, shiitake mushrooms, and rush in response to Japanese farmers' demand that domestic produce be protected against cheap foreign produce.

The tentative safeguards, which will be effective for 200 days under the World Trade Organization agreement, will take effect on April 23.

This is the first time for Japan to exercise this right established by the World Trade Organization agreement.

Japanese Communist Party House of Representatives member Nakabayashi Yoshiko welcomed the government decision as a "step toward a promising Japanese agriculture in the future." She also called for the full-scale 4-year invocation of safeguards extending coverage to other items and an appropriate setup for invocation.

Akahata stressed that the decision, though falling short of full-scale invocation, has been achieved by the movement of farmers who struggled against falling prices under the flood of imports.

Akahata of April 11 said that farmers' pressure has been effective to persuade the government, and that it worked as a severe criticism of the Liberal Democratic Party politics which does not care for agriculture and forestry. (end)