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Deregulation in agriculture is ruining the country by abandoning small family farmers

Akahata editorial

 

Japanfs agriculture and forestry can prosper and become attractive industries through market competition that will provide more business opportunities. This is what the government gCouncil for Regulatory Reformh says.

 

Even in the United States, the government carefully protects key agricultural produce. However, the Japanese government panel calls for Japanfs agriculture, including rice production, to be made more competitive in the market.

 

Abandoning smaller family farmers

 

The interim report published earlier this month by the panel says that the too much government protection of Japanese agriculture and forestry are to blame for the delay in gstructural reformh.

 

gStructural reformh in agriculture is aimed at opening Japanfs agriculture and farmland to joint stock companies in order to quickly promote large-scale farming while destroying family farmers who have been the main players in the nationfs agriculture.

 

In fact, the ginterim reporth calls for the creation of a gproduction quota-swap marketh with the aim of drastically reducing production on gless productive farmlandh and making it unnecessary to reduce production on gproductive farmland.h This is nothing but a policy of forcing small family farmers to reduce their rice acreage and ultimately force them to cease to be rice growers.

 

The gCouncilh even calls for an immediate removal of restrictions on joint stock companies in possessing farmland on the grounds that anyone who seeks more effective use of farmland, girrespective of who managesh the farm, should be allowed to do so. However, there is no guarantee that joint stock companies will take over abandoned farmland or continue farming because they are for-profit business institutions.

 

The Liberal Democratic Party-led government has consistently relied on imports in complete disregard of domestic production and has promoted the uniform scale expansion policy. Rather than providing ggenerous supporth, it has actually abandoned its responsibilities to secure certain prices for farm produce and take protective measures for stable farming although many other countries are putting more emphasis on policies protecting their agriculture.

 

The results of these policies are making it impossible for farmers who have expanded their farming to continue farming due to sharply falling rice prices. The LDPfs nation-ruining agricultural policy is to blame for the fall of the food self-sufficiency rate to 39 percent, which is extraordinarily low in the world.

 

The Council for Regulatory Reform maintains that the ruinous agricultural administration should be completed by applying market fundamentalism that allows the entry of profit-first joint stock companies.

 

The domestic and international situations relating to food and agriculture have drastically changed.

 

The interim report says that a world food crisis makes it even more important to deepen gregulatory reformsh. However, taking advantage of a crisis to further the structural reform, the usual method that has been taken since the Koizumi Cabinet, is no longer acceptable. The calls of the gCouncilh will undermine the basis of food production in Japan and do no good but much harm.

 

The interim report analyzes the causes of the food crisis but it makes no reference at all to the rampage of speculative money flows, which everyone but the U.S. Bush administration acknowledges as a major cause of the soaring prices. Any mention of it would have been extremely inconvenient for the gCouncil,h because the interim report is calling for a thorough liberalization and deregulation in financial markets.

 

Deregulation as foregone conclusion

 

Without analyzing the actual conditions of the economy and society, it is impossible to formulate a policy that can resolve the existing problems.

 

While the serious damage done by the structural reform policy has surfaced little by little, the regulatory reform council has no ideas other than structural reform and deregulation. The discussion at the Council for Regulatory Reform, which was set up for the purpose of promoting the structural reform policy, is an empty theory that will only damage the peoplefs living conditions and ruin the economy.

- Akahata editorial, July 21, 2008

 



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