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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 October 31 - November 6  > Coastal fishermen in forum oppose Abe’s intent to adversely revise Fishery Act
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2018 October 31 - November 6 [ECONOMY]

Coastal fishermen in forum oppose Abe’s intent to adversely revise Fishery Act

November 6, 2018

Coastal fishermen, experts, and concerned citizens on November 5 held a forum and opposed the Abe government’s move to revise the fishery law as the revision would have negative effects on coastal fisheries.

Prime Minister Abe in his policy speech to the 48-day extraordinary Diet session expressed his eagerness to reform the fisheries industry, specifically the revision of the Fishery Act.

Currently, under the law, if business corporations want to enter coastal fisheries, they need to join a local Fisheries Cooperative Association. The government in its reform proposal seeks to change this system to one enabling business corporations to bypass the cooperative to obtain fishing licenses. In addition, the government proposes a change in the selection of members for the Sea-area Fisheries Adjustment Commission, a tripartite administrative organization at the prefectural level. Under the government proposal, commission members will be appointed by the governor instead of being elected.

The forum was hosted by the national union of coastal fishermen’s organizations (JCFU), a group of experts opposing the fishery law revision, and a civil group working for sustainable fishing.

A Fisheries Agency official explained the government proposal and insisted on the need to revise the law by arguing that circumstances surrounding the fishing industry are different from that at the time when the law was established.

Teikyo University Professor Kase Toshikazu pointed out that the exclusion of the fisheries cooperative from licensing corporations to operate fisheries would cause difficulties in fisheries resources management and environmental conservation of coastal areas which have long been conducted by the fisheries cooperative in an integrated and comprehensive manner. Kase said, “Under the current law, business entities are engaged in fishing operations as cooperative members. There is thus no need to change the law.”

Hamamoto Shunsaku, the head of the fishery adjustment commission in Kagawa Prefecture, said that the government proposal will turn the commission into an organization giving a rubber-stamp to any scheme proposed by the prefectural government. Hamamoto noted that no information has been provided so far to fishermen and criticized the Abe government for its intent to bulldoze through the revision before having to deal with the opposition from fishermen.

Parliamentarians of the Japanese Communist Party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Democratic Party for the People, and the Liberal Democratic Party also attended the forum.

Past related article:
> Nationwide organization of coastal fishermen in pole-and-line and longline fisheries formed [October 24, 2018]
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