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Farmers' movement resolves to revive farming villages

On January 15-17, the National Confederation of Farmers' Movement (Nouminren) held its 17th annual convention in Tokyo, which unanimously adopted an action program to revive farming and mountain villages that are faced with a serious crisis.

About 400 delegates representing all 47 prefectures, endorsed a policy of building a stronger movement in opposition to the government policy abandoning Japanese agriculture.

They received reports from across the country on projects and activities such as inviting new farmers by drawing on the various networks of distributing farm products directly from the farm, supplying local farm products for use in school meals, and revealing and denouncing the sloppy BSE preventive measures of the government. They became convinced that Nouminren's activities to protect food safety are gaining the support of consumers.

Pointing out that the import liberalization of form products that will be implemented under a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Japan and Australia could destroy local farming, Nouminren Secretary General Sasawatari Yoshio said, "We need to establish a price-support policy. In order to defend the food sovereignty of Japan, it is indispensable to increase the food self-sufficiency rate. Let us join forces to boost local production."

Japanese Communist Party House of Councilors member Koike Akira extended his greetings to the convention on the first day.

Pointing out that the Abe Cabinet is pushing ahead with an agricultural "reform" policy of abandoning the majority of farmers under the pretext of promotion of FTA and Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA), Koike criticized this policy for destroying agriculture in Japan by prioritizing increasing profits for large corporations.

Koike expressed the determination to work together with Nouminren in defending Japan's agriculture by increasing cooperation with a wide range of people who are concerned about the future food supply.

Shiraishi Jun'ichi was elected as Nouminren's new president.
- Akahata, January 16 & 18, 2007

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