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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 February 22 - 28  > Symposiums: TPP threatens lives, jobs, healthcare, and agriculture
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2012 February 22 - 28 [ECONOMY]

Symposiums: TPP threatens lives, jobs, healthcare, and agriculture

February 26 & 27, 2012
Events in opposition to Japan’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement took place on February 25 and 26 throughout Japan.

An organization of doctors hosted a symposium on February 26 in Tokyo. They are aiming to have the Japanese medical system restored by demanding a drastic increase in public healthcare funds.

Panelist and economic critic Mitsuhashi Takaaki said, “The present situation of oversupply caused by sluggish domestic demand is driving the Japanese economy into deflation. Promoting the inflow of U.S. food and services into Japan, the TPP will run against the solution to the oversupply problem and will instead increase the unemployment rate and the number of working-poor in Japan.”

All 5 panelists stated the need to protect the country’s universal healthcare insurance system. Sumie Kenyu, president of the Japanese Medical and Dental Practitioners for Improvement of Medical Care (Hodanren), explained that the TPP will attack the officially-established medical price system as an obstacle to free competition after lifting a ban on mixed medical treatment so that both insured services and uninsured procedures can be provided at the same time. Sumie stated, “The TPP will depress domestic demand which will lead to an increase in unemployment. So, even if the public insurance system remains after Japan participates in the TPP, many people will lose access to appropriate treatment.”

About 230 people took part in another symposium held in Tokyo on February 25 by the National Liaison Association to Safeguard Food and Health of the Nation (Zenkoku-Shokkenren).

Panelist Odagawa Yoshikazu, president of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), stated that Japan’s participation in the TPP will further accelerate overseas operations, reimport Japanese products, and drive small companies into bankruptcy. Terao Masayuki of the Hodanren pointed out that U.S. businesses are seeking to enter into the field of medicines and to manage hospitals in Japan. Yamane Kaori of the Japan Housewives Association (Shufuren) said, “Cheap foreign produce won’t bring any advantage to Japanese consumers.”

At a Hokkido anti-TPP meeting, 360 people listened to panelists discussing anticipated TPP consequences. A representative of the Korean Peasants League (KPL) said that the South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement will reduce the agricultural population in South Korea from the present 7% to 2-3%, and that movements to protect the country’s food supply are increasing. Masuda Kazuhiko, a doctor at a clinic for working people, warned of the possibility that the TPP will exempt new drugs and treatments from the officially insured medical services and will destroy the national universal healthcare insurance system. Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Kami Tomoko argued that the U.S. Trade Representative and multinational corporations are seeking to gain more profits with the TPP.

In Aomori Prefecture, some 200 participants discussed ways to block Japan from entering the TPP. JCP lawmaker Takahashi Chizuko called on the audience to work together to oppose the TPP. Two Democratic Party of Japan members of the Diet were also present at the discussion and expressed their opposition to the TPP.

The JCP in Toyama Prefecture organized an anti-TPP symposium with 200 people participating. Panelist Anada Jinro, chair of the Japan Agricultural Co-operatives Toyama branch (JA Toyama), claimed that removal of tariffs will encourage the inflow of cheap imported products which will deal a heavy blow to Japanese agriculture.
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