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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 November 20 - 26  > Without examining necessary information, Diet approves Japan-US trade pact
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2019 November 20 - 26 [ECONOMY]

Without examining necessary information, Diet approves Japan-US trade pact

November 20, 2019

The Liberal Democratic, Komei, and "Nippon Ishin no Kai" parties, in the Lower House plenary session on November 19, used their majority force to pass a bill to obtain Diet approval of a Japan-U.S. trade agreement which will likely damage domestic agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and local economies.

Prior to the vote, Japanese Communist Party representative Tamura Takaaki in opposition to the bill said, "In addition to the TPP11 and the Japan-EU EPA both of which already came into force, the new agreement will lower Japan's tariffs and weaken non-tariff measures and intends to further liberalize farm-product markets.

Tamura added, "The government has kept refusing to respond to a request by opposition parties to submit detailed information necessary to engaged in informed Diet discussions. This constitutes an attitude which belittles Diet debate and public opinion."

Concerning the question of removal of Japanese automobile-related tariffs, he criticized the government for attempting to mislead the Diet and the general public by giving false explanation.

Holding back the necessary data for Diet deliberations, the ruling coalition steamrollered the vote through after only eleven hours of Diet discussions.

It was after the extraordinary Diet session convened and on October 18 when the Cabinet Office and the Agriculture Ministry presented a tentative impact assessment for the first time. In addition, a 70-page item-by-item reference document the Agriculture Ministry finally submitted to the Diet on October 29 was the source of the data for the tentative impact assessment. This means that right from the start, the government intended to hold back on data to submit to the Diet.

A strong suspicion has risen that the government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by showing improper data tried to deceive the Diet.

The Foreign Ministry rewrote the data and analysis regarding the lifting of tariffs on cars and car parts before and after the signing of the Japan-U.S. trade agreement. The data first showed that the U.S. side in its concessions list specifies the abolition of tariffs on Japanese cars and car parts after further negotiations. After the signing of the accord, the ministry's data was changed to: the U.S. side in its appendix to the deal specifies that it will further negotiate with respect to the elimination of customs duties on automobiles and parts.

Making it look as if the tariff elimination is assured, the government may have tried to mislead the Diet and this should be investigated. The Japan-U.S. trade agreement which will harm Japan's food and economic sovereignty should be scrapped outright in the upcoming House of Councilors session.

Past related articles:
> Diet approval bill for Japan-US trade deal passes Lower House committee [November 16, 2019]
> 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]
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