Brief information on TPP in Japan #28

11 Sept, 2012
By Kondo

APEC seems to have ended quietly, while Mrs. Clinton made a long trip to show the US presence in the regional territorial disputes visiting Indonesia, China, Brunei and East Timor. Prime Minister Noda told her that Japan would soon officially ease import restriction on US beef, one of the three issues at the prior consultation with the US on Japan’s joining the TPP negotiation.

< Clippings from The Nikkei Newspaper >
1、Sept.4 edition:

US, Australian and Filipino Naval Forces for the first time to carry out maneuvers near the island of Mindanao from 3 through 7 September.

2、Sept. 4, 5 and 6:
State Secretary Clinton visits Indonesia, China, Brunei and Russia. Territorial disputes in The East and South China Sea have been discussed in Indonesia and in China. Mrs. Clinton met with Indonesian Foreign Minister, agreed on the peaceful solution of the disputes between ASEAN members and China supported Indonesian leadership in this matter. Indonesia is located in the sea expanding from northern Oceania to South East Asia but not a concerned party in any territorial disputes with China and therefore has been playing a key role as an arbitrator. In China, she met both with President HU Jintao and Foreign Minister YANG Jiechi. Mrs. Clinton stated that the US wished early settlement of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea with ASEAN and that US would not take specific standpoint on the Nilycane islands dispute between China and Japan, while China emphasized that the issues should be settled by the directly concerned parties and China had historical grounds enough to claim the right to possess.

3、Sept. 5 edition:
Food Safety Commission to ease the restriction for US beef import soon, one of the precondition forced by the US for Japan to join the TPP negotiation. The Commission held a meeting on 5 Sept. and agreed on the evaluation that the beef from the thirty-month old cow had negligible risk for human health in relation BSE comparing to the twenty-month-old cow. They took the same standpoint that the head, the spinal cord and the spinal column from thirty-month old cow were not considered as the specified risk materials storing up abnormal prion protein. The Commission will shortly submit the report to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and the Government will officially ease the import restriction before year end.

4、Sept. 6 and 7 edition:
A. APEC Ministerial Meeting adopted the joint statement on 6 Sept, while developing countries expressed their opposition against tariff reduction of “eco-friendly equipments”. The joint statement includes food security, construction of supply chain, cooperation for growth (importance of IP recognized), and free trade and investment (early close of negotiation on ITA of WTO included). They agreed to reduce the tariff of 53 items of “eco-friendly equipments” to 5 % by 2015. Currently the tariffs are 0.5% in Japan, 1.6% in the US, 10% in China and 7% in Indonesia.

B. Canada and Mexico joined last 1.5 hour portion of the Ministerial Meeting of the TPP on 6 Sept. The P 9 confirmed that the negotiation should be agreed upon by year end.

5、 Sept. 8 edition:
The ruling DPJ project team for economic partnerships submitted to the Noda Administration a report on the TPP on 7 Sept. The report claimed the decision should be cautiously made, the overall and specific strategies should be placed for each economic partnership, tariff abolition without exception should not be accepted and etc.

< Anti-TPP activities update. >
The session of the Diet in Japan was over last Friday and the political scene here is all about elections for the leader of the two major parties, LDP and DPJ, and the timing of the coming national election to be expected either in November or early next year. Because of the above political atmosphere, TPP related activities by the Diet members will slow down. And as voices of party members are not united, no major parties will be reluctant to put the TPP as a main point at issue in the national election. We civil groups still continue questionnaires to the Diet members to clarify their standpoints on the TPP trying to make it a critical point at the election issue. Weekly rally in front of the prime minister’s office is going on every Tuesday and will jointly be integrated into the week of international rally of “Occupy Monsanto” on 18 September Tuesday.