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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 January 19 - 25  > Farmers movement focuses on blocking Japan’s entry into TPP
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2011 January 19 - 25 [AGRICULTURE]

Farmers movement focuses on blocking Japan’s entry into TPP

January 20-22, 2011
The National Federation of Farmers Movement (Nominren) in its 19th National Convention held January 19-21 in Tokyo adopted an action program focusing on blocking Japan’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade pact and on revitalizing farming and mountain villages.

On the first day of the Convention, Nomiren President Shiraishi Jun’nichi in his opening speech stressed, “We need to prioritize the movement to stop the government’s plan to participate in the TPP, which will cause serious damage to Japan’s economy and people’s livelihoods as a whole.”

He reported the fact that Nominren has exchanged views with many foreign farmers’ groups working for each nation’s food sovereignty under the global food crisis and has struggled against the government’s moves to liberalize foreign rice imports and to promote acquisition of farmland by business corporations. He concluded by saying, “Let’s work hard to play a central role in the struggle to prevent Japan’s entry into the TPP!”

Presenting the two-year action program, Secretary General Sasawatari Yoshio reported that Nominren has developed collaboration with various groups, including local Agricultural Co-operatives, through movements calling for measures to counter the outbreak of foot-and-mouth infection in Miyazaki Prefecture and movements opposing the TPP. He also said that the scale of the movements is larger than that of the collaboration developed in 1994 when Nominren staged protests against the elimination of tariffs on imported rice.

As a guest speaker, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi said, “Nominren is building a distinct reputation through its movements.” He referred to the fact that Nominren in cooperation with various farmers’ groups has made achievements in actions calling on both national and local governments to provide support for farmers who are suffering from the sharp fall of the rice price, the epidemics of foot-and-mouth disease, and bird flu.

Ichida also said that in various struggles such as the struggle against the TPP, more and more people are attracting attention to Nominren’s founding principle that it, together with the general public, fights to protect people’s interests, and expressed the JCP’s determination to work together with Nominren.

A representative of the Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives (JA-Zenchu) for the first time attended the Nominren National Convention and conveyed a message from Fuji Shigeo, senior director of JA-Zenchu. In the message, Fuji acknowledged that Nominren is making a great effort to develop local farming industries and that “together with Nominren, the JA will strive to block the government plan to enter into negotiations on the TPP.”

During discussion sessions held on the second and the third days of the Convention, delegates of local Nominren branches from across Japan exchanged their experiences regarding joint actions with local people opposing the TPP. Delegates from Yamagata, Toyama, Kumamoto, and Miyazaki prefectures reported that as a result of joint efforts made by Nominren along with local residents, all local assemblies in those prefectures adopted petitions opposing the TPP.
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