Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on October 22 expressed opposition to Japan's entry into negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), stating that it is not compatible with any effort to increase the nation's food self-sufficiency rate.
The government is now considering joining negotiations for the TPP, a free trade agreement that calls for the complete elimination of tariffs. Shii, at a press conference in the Diet, cited the Agriculture Ministry's calculation showing that Japan's participation in the TPP will reduce its production of rice by 90 percent, wheat by 99 percent, beef by 79 percent, and pork by 70 percent as well as its self-sufficiency rate from the current 40 percent to 12 percent.
Shii stated that while Japan's average rate of tariffs on agricultural products has decreased to 12 percent, many countries are protecting their essential products with high tariffs, and cited the average tariff rates of some nations: EU-20 percent; Argentina-33 percent, Brazil-35 percent, and Mexico-43 percent.
Amid the global shortage in the distribution of food, what the government should do is not abandon Japanese agriculture but make efforts to create trade rules that respect each nation's right to food sovereignty, the JCP chair expressed.
- Akahata, October 22, 2010