09 April, 2012
ASEAN held its Summit Meeting, released the chairman’s statement and announced that it would expect agreement on the start of the negotiation for ASEAN+6 FTA at the November East Asian Summit.
Civil organizations about to form a wide range coalition, and joint action on 25 April before Prime Minister Noda’s visit to the US by almost all the organizations against TPP being pursued.
＜Clippings from Nikkei newspaper＞
１，March 31 edition: Japan Post Reform bill jointly 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 04/05 edition: ASEAN Summit Meeting closed on 4 April and the statement of the chair-person issued.
The statement clearly said that ASEAN expects the start of negotiation for the FATA of “ASEAN + 6” to be agreed upon at the East Asian Summit Meeting in November. The section meetings on trade, service and investment are to start soon. Its rules will be less strict than TPP reflecting developing countries among its members, but it covers over 50 % of the world population and 27% of the world GDP following 39% which the TPP represents.
The model conduct with legal binding in the South China Sea is also included in the statement, but Chinese participation in the process of negotiation on the draft was not approved. Countries such as the Philippines objected and the principle was confirmed that ASEAN should first decide on its own proposal before the negotiation with China. The working meeting took place four times so far, but the draft has not yet been completed. The chair-country, Cambodia considered acceleration of the process by having China in the discussion but in vain. Chinese participation is still a pending issue.
３，April 05 edition: Japanese and European business circles suggested the early start of Japan/EU EPA negotiation.
They had the regular annual meeting of the business round table meeting in Tokyo. Mr. Legall, Chairman & CEO Arianespace and Mr. Yonekura, Chairman of the Japanese Federation of Economic Organizations, the co-chairs said in the press conference that high level partnership would be required and it would take the less than several weeks for the prior consultation.
＜Anti-TPP activities and related information.＞
Big progress about to be materialized.
People’s Action against TPP had a meeting with wide range organizations such as the agricultural cooperative union, consumer’s cooperatives, labor unions, medical worker’s unions and various civil societies, and concluded general principles to for the formation of a net work and to hold a mass assembly on 25 April before Prime Minister Noda’s visit to the US expected at the end of this month or in the beginning of next month, but official formation of the coalition to be yet pursued. But we agreed to pursue it through specific joint actions.
The National Conference to Consider the TPP, the widest range coalition under lawmaker’s initiative and Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives also approached the above mentioned coalition and agreed to pursue the possibility for joint actions on the same day.
If succeeded, it will be the first step for almost all the parties against TPP in Japan to proceed towards joint actions. Various matters and difficulties are yet to be overcome.