18 April, 2012
It was confirmed in the ministerial meeting between USTR and Japan that the tariff elimination issue would be discussed and concluded in the course of the TPP negotiations.
An anti-TPP assembly and a rally will take place on 25 April in which almost all the major organizations will participate for the first time.(see ;http://stoptppaction.blogspot.jp/p/english.html)
＜Clippings from Nikkei newspaper＞
１、April 11 edition: USTR showed concern about the Reform Bill of Japan Post.
Mr. Genba, Japanese Foreign Minister met with Mr. Ron Kirk, USTR on 10 April and discussed Japanese participation in TPP negotiation. In the meeting, Mr.Kirk expressed his concern about the Reform Bill of Japan Post proposed the House of Representatives in the previous week. Japan Post Reform Bill jointly has been proposed at the House of Representatives by the ruling party, DPJ and the two major opposition parties, LDP and New Komeito.
The bill contains significant reversals of the present law enacted under the Koizumi Administration as the following.
・The obligation to sell all the stock of the financial subsidiary will be weakened to be a mere target.
・The stock ownership of the holding company, the Japan Post by the government will be maintained above one third.
・The start of new financial businesses will be by filing a notice instead of obtaining the government authorization when the holding company sells one second of the stock of the financial subsidiary.
The new rule will make it easier for the company to make inroads into housing loans, cancer insurances and etc.
The new bill, if passed, may cause frictions with the US in relation to the TPP negotiations.
２、April 12 edition: Foreign Minister Genba agreed with USTR on how to handle the tariff elimination issue.
He spoke to Japanese media after meeting with Mr. Ron Kirk that they agreed tariff elimination issue would be concluded through the process of negotiations.
US/Australia FTA has excluded some US dairy products and sugar. The US expressed its concern that the advance of Japan Post into the cancer insurance market would affect the US insurance companies for whom the cancer insurances are a major source of their profit. The US also claims that Japanese automobile market is their concern, while the US keeps 2.5% tariff and Japan imposes no tariff.
Prime Minister Noda is expected to meet with President Obama and will express hid policy to join TPP negotiation. He expects that Japanese participation into TPP negotiation will be approved by P9 at the Sept. APEC Summit.
The project team of DPJ is also visiting the US to meet with high level officials of USTR. They will make a report on the TPP policy of the ruling party, DPJ.
３，April 14 edition: EU commission may restrict entry to its market based on the “principle of reciprocity.”
Members of EU commission, Michel Barnier, International Market and Services and Karel De Gucht, Trade wrote to The Nikkei Newspaper and stated that EU had started consideration to restrict access to EU market based on the principle of reciprocity as a measure devised to deal with imbalance of the government procurement.
They claim that EU opens approx. 352 billion Euro market of its government procurement to foreign based companies, while US approx. 178 billion Euro and Japan 27 billion Euro.
Japan and EU have started prior consultation for their FTA and EU urges Japan to open more government procurement market. French President Sarkozy claims European companies should be given prior treatment on government procurement to foreign companies, while Germany and England oppose.
４，April 17 edition: US /Philippine large-scale joint military exercise. Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia joined for a simulation exercise in Manila.
On 20 April an exercise is scheduled with a theme “Recapture the natural gas base occupied by the invader.”
China only commented “The major issue in the region is the peaceful development and cooperation. Military matters are not major themes.” China also conducted a large-scale military exercise in 2010 and in December 2012, and has deployed large-sized patrol boats to the region.
５，April 18 edition: Japanese Self-Defense-Forces to set up a station in a US island of Tinian for the first time.
The station in Djibouti is the only one to cope with pirate ships so far. The joint troop of air, ground and marine with minimum personnel will be rotated to secure isolated islands of Japan. But, it will be expanded to be a permanent station in the future and be used for joint exercises with the US and Australia
＜Anti-TPP activities and related information.＞
Civil organizations, the National Conference to Consider the TPP, the widest range coalition under lawmaker’s initiative, and Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives will hold a joint assembly and street rally on 25 April, the first step for almost all the parties against TPP in Japan to proceed towards more joint actions.