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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 May 21 - 27  > JCP demands suspension of ‘mandatory’ rice imports
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2008 May 21 - 27 [AGRICULTURE]

JCP demands suspension of ‘mandatory’ rice imports

May 21, 2008
The Japanese Communist Party in the House of Councilors demanded that the government review its rice imports based on the minimum access commitment under the WTO agreements.

JCP representative Kami Tomoko made the demand during her questioning period at the House of Councilors Agricultural Committee meeting on May 20.

She argued that “minimum access” is no more than a scheme aimed at offering countries such as Japan opportunities to import rice, and not a measure to obligate countries to import a certain volume of rice.

She criticized the government for using 260 billion yen in tax money to continue such unreasonable rice imports for 11 years.

“The JCP in its ‘Agriculture Revitalization Plan’ calls for the suspension of the mandatory import of rice. The government should consider this JCP proposition,” said Kami.

She also pointed out the fact that although a serious shortage of rice is affecting many Asian countries, Japan increased its rice imports over 2007 by more than 60 percent.

She said, “If Japan continues to import foreign rice, it will only fuel the rice price rise globally.”

Farm Minister Wakabayashi Masatoshi admitted that Japan’s rice imports may lead to an increase in global rice prices, but he said that it is mandatory under the WTO agreement for Japan to import rice. - Akahata, May 21, 2008
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