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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 October 19 - 25  > Agriculture Minister’s ‘forcible passage of TPP’ remark denies Diet role
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2016 October 19 - 25 [POLITICS]

Agriculture Minister’s ‘forcible passage of TPP’ remark denies Diet role

October 20, 2016
The Agriculture Minister’s remark hinting at railroading through the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade pact downplays Japan’s parliamentary democracy, the system to win public understanding of state affairs through Diet deliberations.

Japanese Communist Party Diet Policy Commission Chair Kokuta Keiji said this at a press conference held in the Diet building on October 19, criticizing Agriculture Minister Yamamoto Yuji for alluding to a possibility of a steamroll vote on TPP ratification.

Just the other day, Liberal Democratic Party member of the Lower House Fukui Teru resigned as director of the House Special Committee on the TPP over his statement expressing his determination to realize Japan’s entry in the TPP by forcibly holding a vote. Prime Minister Abe Shinzo at that time mentioned that Fukui’s remark is incompatible with what the LDP has in mind. “This is why he had to step down from his post,” said Abe.

Citing Abe’s previous comments, Kokuta said that if that is the case, it is a matter of course for the Agriculture Minister to take the blame as well. Moreover Kokuta said, “I demand that both the chairman and LDP directors of the TPP Special Committee promise to conduct careful deliberations and to not take a forcible vote on TPP-related bills.”

Kokuta pointed out that this multilateral trade agreement will not only affect the country’s agriculture but also every field of life such as food safety, intellectual property rights, healthcare, insurance, and public-works projects. In fact, a Kyodo News survey shows that more than 70% of the general public are expecting the Diet to give careful consideration to the pact.

Kokuta then proposed that the Diet hold TPP interpellations of unsworn witnesses from all sectors and also hold public hearings in farming and mountainous areas.

He said that both Yamamoto and Fukui expose their lack of understanding of parliamentarians’ role as representatives of the people: to try to gain public support through Diet discussions regarding critical issues that pertain to the very basis of the country. In their remarks, they seem to be saying that they always use their party’s majority power to ram through everything and deny any debate in the Diet, commented Kokuta.
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