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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 February 28 - March 6  > Japan-Australia EPA will destroy Japan’s agriculture: JCP Shii
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2007 February 28 - March 6 [AGRICULTURE]

Japan-Australia EPA will destroy Japan’s agriculture: JCP Shii

March 6, 2007
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo at a news conference in Sapporo City in Hokkaido on March 5 criticized the government agricultural policy of excluding many farmers from a new income compensation program and of entering negotiations on an economic partnership agreement (EPA) with Australia, warning that the government policy will destroy Japan’s agriculture.

Starting in April, the government will abolish the price-support policy on rice, wheat, soybeans, sugar beets, and potatoes and will implement the income compensation program covering only large-scale farmers with more than ten hectares in Hokkaido and more than four hectares in the rest of Japan.

Shii pointed out that this government plan will exclude more than 90 percent of farm families nationally and 40 percent in Hokkaido. He stated, “The government should replace the policy of limiting eligible farmers with a policy of supporting all farmers who wish to continue to farm.” In order for the farmers to engage in agriculture without anxieties, he emphasized the need to establish a system of combination of the price-support mechanism to cover production costs and the income compensation mechanism.

Concerning a Japan-Australia EPA, Shii said such an agreement will cause unbearable damage to Japanese agriculture.

The average acreage of a farm in Australia is 1,800 times more than that in Japan. It is predicted that the trade liberalization in agricultural goods would devastate Japan’s family farms, reducing agricultural production by 3 trillion yen nationally and 1.3 trillion yen in Hokkaido alone.

Shii said, “The Abe Cabinet decided to begin EPA negotiations with Australia to meet business circles’ demands. I insist that the government must avoid entering into negotiations that will adversely affect the fate of Japanese agriculture. The JCP will make efforts to put brakes on the endless liberalization of imports.”
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