Brief information on TPP in Japan #37

14 Jan, 2013
By Kondo

Not many activities on TPP. As reported in the previous report, agricultural sectors keep their firm position to protest TPP, Medical Association of Japan softened their voice in their recent resolution to protect public health system by lifting a clear wording of their opposition to TPP, the ruling LDP expressed their conservative standpoint to make the final decision by the summer election of the House of Councilors, and their party members opposing to TPP was counted over 180 out of LDP’s seats of 294 in the House of Representatives. And we heard unclear messages by various executives of LDP last week. But it is said that the cabinet is predominant over the ruling party. And we should note that major figures both in the cabinet and LDP are pro strong Japan/US military alliance and pro free trade agreements. The first diplomatic visits by the Abe Administration are clear signals to encircle China which you may sense in the newspaper clippings below.

< Clippings from The Nikkei Newspaper >
1、Jan.07 editions:
The Chairperson of the Policy Affairs Research Council of the ruling LDP, Ms.Takaichi mentioned on Jan.6 TV program that if it is necessary after reviewing the progress of TPP, Japan would join the TPP negotiation, and that in case the negotiation doesn’t satisfy the national interest, Japan would withdraw. Ms,Takaichi is a member of “conference to insist on an immediate withdrawal of participating in TPP.”

2、Jan.08 edition:
The acting chief secretary of LDP, Mr.Hosoda criticized Ms.Takacichi’s comment on TPP on a TV program on 7 Jan. He further commented that the US is a very tough negotiator and her comment is as risky as going to the guillotine.

3、 Jan.9 edition:
The section of LDP on agricultural and forestry issues held a meeting yesterday and confirmed its opposition to Japan’s participation in TPP negotiation.

4、  Jan.10 edition:
A.  Ms.Takaichi, the Chairperson of the Policy Affairs Research Council of the ruling LDP, was interviewed by NIKKEI and emphasized her standpoint on TPP that it is meaningless to join the TPP negotiation on condition that there’s no exception for tariff abolition. She also mentioned that LDP will discuss specific conditions acceptable for Japan.

B.  The Abe Administration to send clear signal of regarding ASEAN as being indispensable to Japan. He is also conscious of checking on growing presence of China in the region. Adding other ASEAN member countries visited by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, the administration made eight out of ten ASEAN members within one month after the start of the new cabinet. He is going to visit Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia from 16 through 19 Jan. This is partially because that his visit with President Obama is to be postponed to February. And the other factor is that there is strong opposition to TPP in LDP and it seems too early to express any progress to Obama.

5、 Jan.11 edition:
A.  Prime Minister Abe restated in an interview with NIKKEI that the bottom line is the national interest and he would seek for best possible way with respect to Japan’s participation in the TPP negotiation.

B.  China to continue infringement of Japan’s territorial right on SENKAKU Islands, the Nilycane Islands. Chinese government held a meeting and officially concluded to dispatch its aircrafts and vessels including those of the People’s Liberation Army and check on Japan’s reaction. P.M Abe strongly responded that “China is wrong.”

<  Anti-TPP activities update. >
Not much to report. The first rally of the year in front of the Prime Minister’s Residence was held on 8 January.