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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 November 13 - 19  > Diet approval bill for Japan-US trade deal passes Lower House committee
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2019 November 13 - 19 [ECONOMY]

Diet approval bill for Japan-US trade deal passes Lower House committee

November 16, 2019

A bill to obtain Diet approval for a Japan-U.S. trade agreement and a digital trade agreement, both of which will undermine Japan's food and economic sovereignty, passed the Lower House Foreign Affairs Committee on November 15 by the majority vote of the ruling Liberal Democratic/Komei parties and the "Nippon Ishin no Kai" party.

Japanese Communist Party representative Kokuta Keiji in opposition to the bill said, "The two accords will weaken Japanese agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, threaten domestic food safety, and further reduce Japan's food self-sufficiency rate."

Kokuta criticized the government for not only holding back on submitting detailed information about the possible impact on domestic farm products as requested by opposition parties but also intentionally deleting important parts from the documents of the two pacts.

Kokuta said that according to the Japan-U.S. joint statement issued on September 25, the two governments will enter into negotiations over customs duties and other restrictions on trade after the agreements take effect, and pointed out, "This will literally lead to a Japan-U.S. FTA and the digital trade agreement is just a preparatory process leading up to this FTA."

Kokuta added, "Diet approval for the two agreements is totally unacceptable. Japan-U.S. FTA talks must not be allowed to take place."

The bilateral trade agreement requires Japan to remove or reduce tariffs amounting to 7.2 billion dollars on U.S. farm products. However, the pact does not touch on the removal of tariffs on Japan's automobiles and auto parts. Having made one-sided concessions, the government intends to further liberalize the Japanese food market that will result in up to a 110-billion-yen decline in production of domestic agricultural goods.

Past related articles:
> Japan formally signs humiliating trade pact with US [October 11, 2019]
> JCP Koike: What's win-win with Japan-US trade deal? [October 10, 2019]
> Shii issues statement regarding agreement in Japan-US trade talks [September 27, 2019]
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