Brief information on TPP in Japan #25

11 Aug, 2012
By Kondo

Various after-events and after-effects of the failure of adopting joint statement on the territorial disputes in the South China Sea at ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in July.
China and Taiwan finally signed the Investment Protection Agreement and completed their Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement which had been agreed upon in June 2010.

<Clippings from The Nikkei Newspaper>
1、 Aug. 3 edition:

Territorial conflicts in the South China Sea slow down probing of natural resources in the area. Instead, the idea of joint projects pursued.
In November, 2011, the Vietnamese state owned Petrovietnam agreed on a joint project of natural gas with an Indian ONGCA, and on another natural gas project with Russian Gazproma in April, 2012. But, not a few foreign investors are passive and there was only one British corporation who participated in the tender for a project near Palawan islands, the Philippines.
On the other hand China (CNOOC) has also offered a tender for its project near Vietnam to foreign investors. Because of these circumstances, Vietnam is even considering an idea of setting joint mining areas to be developed with other countries by suspending territorial conflicts, China not excluded. And Chinese Premier WEN Jiabao also stated he would not rule out the idea of joint mining areas

2、Aug. 6 edition:
Vietnam arrested some demonstrators against China for the first time.
There are four demonstrations against China in the street since July, but such a case is the first time. The government seems not to allow further development of the rally.

3、Aug. 7 edition:
A. Korea announced it will start the FTA negotiation, although the
country already effectuated the FTA with ASEAN. The purpose is to reduce tariff level further, to increase the number of items without tariff and to secure the market access to the growing Vietnamese market.
Trade between the two countries increased to 18.6 billion USD in 2011, four times as much as five years before B. Privatization Commission of Japan Post to allow reinforcement of profitability of Japan Post.
The Commission, the governing body to give direction of privatization of Japan Post clarified that according to the reform bill, Japan Post were required to reinforce profitability of its financial subsidiaries to sustain the universal postal services. But, considering the demand from the US the Commission has confirmed before that the insurance subsidiary will not enter into the cancer insurance for the time being.
Since the Koizumi Reform Policy, Japan Post reduced its assets significantly. The savings and deposits down to 175 trillion JPY by 30% and outstanding insurance contracts down to 3.93 million contracts by 50% comparing to its highest record. he Life Insurance Association of Japan strongly criticized that fair competition would not be assured.

4、 Aug. 10 edition:
China and Taiwan signed the Investment Protection Agreement to complete their Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement which had been agreed upon in June 2010. The ECFA covers trade in goods, trade agreement in services, IP and investment.
Taiwan strongly demanded the foreign arbitration tribunal to settle disputes, but China rejected because disputes between the two should be domestic matters. Taiwan has been concerned about the progress of FTAs in the East Asia. The government estimated Japan/China/Korea FTA would push down Taiwan’s GDP by 1.49% and President MA Ying-jeou urged the earlier close of the deal.

5、Aug. 11 edition:
A. Foreign Ministers of China and Indonesia released a joint statement on the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The two Ministers met in Jakarta on 10 Aug. and released a statement that all the countries in the region were responsible for the maintenance of peace and stability in the South China Sea.
B. Cambodian ambassador to the Philippines to be recalled, an after-effect of the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of ASEAN in July. Foreign Minister of the Philippines said to news reporters on 10 Aug. that Cambodia had decided to recall the Ambassador to the Philippines. Cambodian Foreign Minister considered the standpoint of China on the territorial dispute in the South China Sea and clashed with Vietnam and the Philippines failing to adopt the joint statement.

<Anti-TPP activities update.>
Our civil coalition is planning various joint activities in the coming months.
We met with the lawmakers group of Mr. Yamada and discussed possible joint rally in autumn. They assured that opposition group to the TPP in the ruling party is the majority and would continue the nonpartisan struggle. The National Conference to Consider the TPP is going to hold a rally at the end of August.
Considering Prime Minister Noda’s announcement to join the TPP and possible dissolution of the Diet, we have sent questionnaires to all the some 700 members of the Diet for their standpoints on TPP. The outcome will be reported on our website and will be used to influence their opinions on TPP.
Regular and continuous demonstrations in front of Prime Minister’s Office are being planned.