JCP opposes the Japan-U.S. trade negotiations which disregards Japan’s economic sovereignty

Japanese Communist Party Chair Kazuo Shii on September 27 at a press conference in the Diet building commented on the Japan-U.S. summit meeting held in New York City on September 26 (September 27 Japan time). The full text of his comment is as follows:

The Japan-U.S. summit meeting was held on September 26 (local time) and the Joint Statement of Japan and the United States was announced following the meeting. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had so far declined to enter into negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the U.S., but this time he gave in to the demands of U.S. President Donald Trump. It is a matter of grave concern for Japan’s leader to give up Japan’s economic sovereignty to the U.S.

In the Japan-U.S. Joint Statement, it is clearly stated that the two countries will enter into negotiations on a Japan-U.S. Trade Agreement on Goods (TAG). It is subsequently stated that Japan and the U.S. also intend to “have negotiations on other trade and investment items”. This joint statement is basically an agreement to open negotiations for a Japan-U.S. FTA that will include comprehensive trade and investment agreements between the two countries.

PM Abe later stressed at a press conference that the new framework would be a TAG, not a more wide-ranging FTA, however, President Trump told reporters, “We’ve agreed today to start trade negotiations between the United States and Japan. This was something that for various reasons over the years Japan was unwilling to do”. The attitude of the prime minister who believes he can get away with deceiving the Japanese public is totally unacceptable.

PM Abe stated that the two countries confirmed at the summit meeting that the U.S. would not impose additional tariffs on the auto sector during the process of these consultations, and portrayed this confirmation as if it were a diplomatic outcome. The reality is quite the opposite.

What this means is that Japan pledges that if Japan does not meet the demands of the U.S. and the trade negotiations between the two countries break down, the U.S. will unilaterally raise tariffs and the Japanese government can only accept it.

Japan will be forced to choose the devil’s alternative, whether to succumb to the unreasonable demands of the Trump regime which clings to its “America first” policy, or to accept the U.S.’s unilateral tariff hikes.

It is stipulated in the joint statement, “For Japan, with regard to agricultural, forestry, and fishery products, outcomes related to market access as reflected in Japan’s previous economic partnership agreements constitute the maximum level”. However, this only represents the position of the Japanese side.

As repeatedly pointed out, if Japan is dragged into bilateral trade talks between Japan and the U.S., it is obvious that Japan will be forced to make further concessions starting from the level conceded in negotiations on the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) free-trade pact.

I have to say that the recent Japan-U.S. summit meeting was a shameful display of a submissive form of diplomacy following the previous Japan-Russia summit meeting.

The JCP strongly opposes the bilateral trade negotiations between Japan and the U.S. that sell out Japan’s economic sovereignty to the U.S..

--Akahata, September 28, 2018

The Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party
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