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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 March 9 - 15  > Abe gov’t puts forth TPP-related bills
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2016 March 9 - 15 [POLITICS]

Abe gov’t puts forth TPP-related bills

March 9, 2016
The Abe Cabinet on March 8 submitted a bill to the Diet to obtain parliamentary approval for the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal and a package of TPP-related bills. With this summer’s Upper House election approaching, the government is aiming to enact these bills during the current Diet session.

In the 2012 general election, the Liberal Democratic Party won with a campaign promise to “firmly oppose” the TPP and was returned to power. Just several months later, the LDP-led coalition government broke its election pledge and joined the TPP talks. In February 2016, the Abe administration signed the free trade agreement with the other 11 countries.

The TPP deal, which is essentially designed to help multinational corporations make huge profits, intends to remove or substantially lower tariffs on imported products as well as relax or nullify various domestic regulations.

The submitted package consists of 11 bills. Four of them are relevant to farm, forestry, and maritime products, which include measures to cover expected losses of farmers raising hogs or cattle. This indicates that the government itself acknowledges that the new economic framework will deliver a crushing blow to Japanese livestock farmers.

On the same day, Sakaguchi Masaaki, the secretary-general of the National Campaign for the Defense of the People’s Food and Health (Shokkenren), said, “The TPP agreement is in clear violation of the Diet resolutions which call on the government to maintain the tariffs protecting key agricultural products. This accord is threatening people’s livelihoods, local economies, and even the sovereignty of each nation involved. In order to prevent the Diet from ratifying the agreement, we’ll work hard to strengthen the anti-TPP campaign.”

The prerequisite for bringing the pact into effect is that at least six participating nations ratify it and that the GDP of those countries accounts for over 85% of the total GDP of all 12 nations. Japan’s GDP accounts for 17% of the total. Accordingly, the free trade framework will not take effect unless the Japanese parliament approves it.
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