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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 May 16 - 22  > Diet approval of bill for ratification of TPP11 forcibly passed in Lower House
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2018 May 16 - 22 [ECONOMY]

Diet approval of bill for ratification of TPP11 forcibly passed in Lower House

May 19, 2018
The Liberal Democratic Party, Komei Party, and Ishin no Kai at the Lower House plenary session on May 18 steamrollered through a bill to approve the ratification of a new pact for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP-11, without U.S. participation.

The Japanese Communist Party together with other opposition forces (Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, Democratic Party for the People, independents, Liberal Party, Social Democratic Party) voted against the bill.

In a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee meeting held prior to the plenary session, the duration of time that lawmakers discussed the new agreement which involves eleven countries was less than six hours. With the limited time allowed for discussion, TPP-11 advocates forcibly took a vote on and urgently submitted the bill to the plenary session the same day.

Japan's five key food categories of rice, wheat, beef/pork, dairy products, and sugar were supposed to "be excluded" from free-tariff negotiations. This was parliamentary consensus. However, the TPP-11 will remove tariffs on 30% of items in these categories. In the beef/pork category, 70% of items will enter tariff-free.

On this point, JCP representative Tamura Takaaki in the plenary session said, "The new deal goes completely against the Diet resolution!"

Lower House legislators belonging to the cabinet committee and the agriculture committee jointly held a council before the plenary session and examined the estimated impact by the TPP-11 on domestic agricultural, forestry, and fishery products.

According to the Agriculture Ministry's calculation, the amount of domestic production will decrease in value by between 90 billion yen and 150 billion yen. The 150 billion yen is almost the same value as Canada's estimation (144.9 billion yen) of an increase in its exports to Japan thanks to the TPP-11. If adding the nine states' impact, Japan's production value would decline even more.

Attending the joint council, JCP Tamura criticized the government for underestimating the loss to domestic agriculture and said, "It's unrealistic."

Meanwhile, in front of the Lower House Members' Office building, concerned consumers and farmers staged a sit-in, protesting against the railroading of the bill through the Lower House. Demonstrators cried out, "Not sufficient time for debate!" and demanded, "Thorough deliberations!" They said: many family farmers are giving up farming; the Agriculture Ministry's estimate of the negative impact is conservative; and ISDS provisions would cause damage to the domestic farming industry.

Past related article:
> Consumers and farmers: Japan should not ratify TPP11! [March 10, 2018]

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