【Statement】Japan must not join negotiations for TPP

Japan must not join negotiations for TPP
-- TPP will only destroy threaten our lives, ways of living, and our environment --

March 18th, 2013
Executive committee of Greens Japan,

Japan's PM Abe expressed his intention to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations on March 15th. Setting aside the TPP's non-democratic negotiation style, the TPP will pose negative impacts on many facets of our society. He also breached campaign pledges of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) which opposed the TPP on the condition that it drop the unilateral elimination of tariffs; a recent Japan-US Joint Statement is no assurance for any exclusion from sweeping tariff elimination as some news media try to make use of the Statement.

Voices strongly opposed to the TPP can be found throughout Japanese society, and include farming cooperatives, consumer advocacy societies, labor unions, and medical associations, each with grave concerns about the TPP. They are correct that the TPP aims to eliminate not only tariffs on products but also non-tariff barriers against a variety of commerce and consumer protection practices, including food safety codes, medical care laws, labor regulations, investment and financial systems, and local or national government procurement practices. With its investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISD), a multinational corporation may sue a government to ease unfavorable food-safety regulations such as residual pesticide level, food additives, and genetically-modified products (GMO) labeling. It is also possible that pressure from insurance companies will undermine Japan's universal healthcare system which now covers all citizens, forcing people to pay higher amounts of money to obtain reasonable medical care.

Additionally, the TPP gives greater power to multinational corporations and international investors over the policies and laws of participating governments. It is highly unlikely that these multinationals will give much regard to key concerns such as regional employment, health care, or the well-being of local communities. The benefits of cheaper imports and an increase in exports, as the proponents of TPP will point to as beneficial aspects of the TPP, are trivial in comparison to the much larger ills of entry into the TPP.

The proclaimed attraction of “cheaper imports” deserves a closer examination. One result of cheaper imports for Japanese consumers is that of Asian farmers and manufacturers who will face lower pay structures. This is actually happening under the South Korea-US Free Trade Agreement. It is important to note here that South Korean exporters did not greatly benefit, and are generally not happy under the FTA with the US. Our values are human rights, democracy, and the right to decent lives for all global citizens. We believe these are of a higher importance over profits for large multinationals and short-sighted national interests.

Greens Japan actively promotes participatory democracy, an environmentally sound economy, and a local-minded society where all people can lead peaceful, productive and healthy lives. As such, we cannot allow neoliberalism, single-minded globalization to proceed under the TPP, which will lead to excessive competition will benefit only the multinational, and result in uncertain social consequences. Along with Greens Japan, Green Parties of Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the US, where their respective governments already participate in the TPP negotiations, we oppose this unfair and unclear TPP framework (See URLs below). It is the position of the Greens that we must build secure and fair trade relationships with Pacific and Asian countries, including China.

"Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement : Joint Statement"

Global Greens

[translated by translator team of Greens Japan]
Special thanks to DS