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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 March 14 - 20  > JCP Kami calls on Abe to halt EPA negotiations with Australia
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2007 March 14 - 20 [ECONOMY]

JCP Kami calls on Abe to halt EPA negotiations with Australia

March 14, 2007
At the March 13 Upper House Budget Committee meeting, Japanese Communist Party member Kami Tomoko urged Prime Minister Abe Shinzo to halt negotiations with Australia on an economic partnership agreement (EPA) that will cause excessive damage to Japan’s agriculture.

Kami cited the agricultural ministry’s calculation showing that if Japan and Australia were to agree to abolish tariffs on wheat, sugar, dairy products, and beef, Japan’s yearly production of those products would be reduced by 790 billion yen. The calculation indicates that the domestic production of wheat would drop by 99 percent (120 billion yen) and sugar by 100 percent (130 billion yen). As a result, Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate would decrease from 40 percent to 12 percent.

In Hokkaido Prefecture, where most industries are connected with the agricultural sector, the prefectural government estimated that abolition of tariffs on agricultural products would cause a fall in production of 1.3 trillion yen, a reduction in the number of farming household by 21,000, and a reduction in the number of employed by 47,000.

Showing those numbers, Kami stated, “The government must immediately cancel the EPA negotiations with Australia that will put Japan’s agriculture and food security in danger.”

Abe, however, refused to bring a halt to the EPA negotiations, saying, “Developing a good relationship and cooperation with Australia is important to Japan’s national interests.”
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