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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 February 14 - 20  > Farmers and consumers express concern over adverse effects of a Japan-Australia FTA on Japan’s agriculture
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2007 February 14 - 20 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Farmers and consumers express concern over adverse effects of a Japan-Australia FTA on Japan’s agriculture

February 17, 2007
Representatives of the National Liaison Association to Safeguard the Food and the Health of the Nation (Zenkoku-Shokkenren) made representations to the Agriculture Ministry on February 16 calling for a halt to the FTA (Free Trade Agreement) negotiations between Japan and Australia.

With the FTA, Australia is urging Japan to abolish tariffs on agricultural goods, including wheat, dairy products, beef, and sugar.

It is estimated that if tariffs on those four products are eliminated, in the Hokkaido region alone the gross output of 1.4 trillion yen will be lost and 90,000 people will lose their jobs.

Sasawatari Yoshio, secretary general of the National Confederation of Farmers’ Movement (Nouminren), and other representatives stressed that a Japan-Australia FTA will cause enormous damage to Japan’s agriculture.

Expressing deep anxiety over the outcome of the negotiation, they pointed out that the Japanese government set a precedent to override public wishes when it lifted the ban on rice imports in violation of Diet resolutions in opposition, and that the Japan Business Federation is pressuring the government to conclude the FTA and sacrifice Japan’s agriculture.

The Hokkaido Prefectural Federation of Agricultural Mutual Aid Societies Employees’ Union chair said, “Abolition of tariffs on even one product will destroy the crop rotation system. It will also destroy daily farming.”

A representative of the New Japan Women’s Association called on the ministry not to cause a further decrease in Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate, saying, “Consumers want safe foods.”

They also demanded that the government improve its measures to compensate farmers affected by bird flu.
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