Category Archives: TPP

TPP: Many Questions Remain

Civil Society Media Release from TPP Negotiation Round, Brunei Darassalam

The Civil Society stakeholders for the Brunei round of TPP negotiations are very disappointed that no formal report from the Chief Negotiators was presented, nor the opportunity for stakeholders to ask questions in a forum where all could hear the answers.
At this round of TPP negotiations the stakeholder session ended with a mingling of negotiators with stakeholders in a stand-up format. While we found the negotiators to be friendly and open to questions, the setting did not enable many stakeholders to ask their questions and the answers given were not available to everyone.
There were a number of questions we would liked to have heard answers to, of these the most pressing are:

  • Will there be another round of negotiations?
  • Will a full timetable be released?
  • We know there are inter-sessional meetings planned for September, what, if any, arrangements are being made for stakeholder engagement at these meetings?
  • Will there be media briefings at the inter-sessional meetings?
  • The Civil Society represented at the Brunei round consisted of a number of NGOs and community organisations who have very limited resources.  To come to a negotiation round and not be able to question Chief Negotiators is a huge disappointment.

 We continue to urge for greater transparency and accountability, and we ask again for the release of a draft negotiating text.
Hadyn Green
Consumer NZ

Yoshiko Matsuda
What is TPP?

Trish Hepworth
Australian Digital Alliance

Patricia Ranald
Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network

Yasuaki Yamaura
Consumers Union of Japan

Yasuo Kondo
People’s Action Against TPP (Japan)

Krista L. Cox
Knowledge Ecology International

No To TPP Participation!

Japan has a large number of consumer organizations, both on the national level and local level. Several, including Shufuren, Parc, Seikatsu Club, Pal System Coop, Dai-ichi Mamoru Kai, Shin Nihon Fujin Kai, have joined CUJ in protesting against the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP). Here is the latest statement from CUJ:

February 25, 2013

To: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Statement of Protest against the Japan-US Joint Statement Regarding TPP

According to the Japanese government’s communique about TPP after the talks between Prime Minister Abe and President Obama on February 23, 2013, that “it is not required to make a prior commitment to unilaterally eliminate all tariffs upon joining the TPP negotiations.”

However, in a news conference in response to this, Prime Minister Abe mentioned that there was no explicit promise regarding tariff sanctions during his meeting with President Obama. Meanwhile, the governing coalition of LDP and New Komeito is leaning towards announcing that Japan will participate in the TPP negotiations as early as possible.

Prime Minister Abe has then gone on to talk about formally announcing participation in TPP negotiations during speeches in the Upper and Lower House Parliament sessions on February 28, 2013.

This is in sharp contrast to the LDP election promises during last December’s general election, to oppose Japan’s participation in the TPP negotiations if abolishing tariffs without restriction becomes a precondition. Five conditions were included in LDP’s election manifesto, including protecting the country’s health insurance system, which covers all citizens, and food safety standards, as well as not accepting numerical targets for imports of cars and other manufactured products. LDP also promised it would not liberalize financial services or rules regarding public procurement. The TPP also stipulates a new type of dispute resolution system, known as Investor-state Dispute System (ISD) that will allow foreign corporations or financial investors to sue governments in other countries. The comment by the Prime Minister only five days after his meeting with the US President can only be construed as an absurd violation of LDP’s election promises in key areas.

We regard it as unacceptable that such infringements of the rights of people can be proposed, that will infringe on our lives and all aspects of society. This is related to governance and Japan’s national structure, its politics, and issues related to important national policy-making.

We strongly protest against your actions.

Consumers Union of Japan

Nishi-Waseda 1-9-19-207
Shinjuku, Tokyo
TEL 03-5155-4765
FAX 03-5155-4767

Stop TPP Action/Occupy Monsanto

On the first Tuesday of every month, demonstrations will be held in front of the Prime Minister’s Official Residence in Tokyo. Together we can stop the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)!

Consumers Union of Japan has joined together with other organizations to strongly voice our opposition to TPP. Starting in August, 2012, a new campaign strategy was initiated as we met in front of the Prime Minister’s Official Residence in central Tokyo under the theme of stopping the TPP. Ordinary citizens who are opposed to TPP joined elected Parliament members, representatives from local municipalities, self-governing bodies, labour unions and farmers’ organizations. Still, Prime Minister Noda and some parts of the government are urging Japan to join the controversial TPP negotiations. Since the decision to join appears to be imminent, we need to step up our protest activities in front of the Official Residence.

We invite everyone to join our next action meetings. The future dates are scheduled to be November 6, December 4, January 8 (first Tuesday of every month) at 18:00-20:00.

TPP is a way for American and Japanese multinational corporations to take control over the livelihoods of ordinary citizens. Consumers Union of Japan has been holding regular lectures since January, 2012 together with other NGOs about the related problems as seen from the perspective of consumers. During the course of these lectures, it became clear to everyone that TPP proposes unacceptable challenges and participation would be a huge mistake for Japan.

Lecture 1: “TPP problems viewed from the perspective of consumers”
Lecture 2: “Food labeling to be taken away from us”
Lecture 3: “Labour issues”
Lecture 4: “Medical treatment issues”

A total of six action meetings were held to “stop the rash act of TPP” from August 21 to September 25, 2012 in front of the Prime Minister’s Official Residence in Tokyo, on each Tuesday between 18:00 and 20:00. Some 100-400 participants have joined the events. Each time, representatives from different regions and rural areas around the country have joined. Speeches were held to reveal problems related to agriculture, medical treatment, health insurance system, food safety etc.

On September 18, 2012 the action event was tied together with the Occupy Monsanto campaign, with a protest rally outside the offices of the US biotech giant Monsanto’s head office in Tokyo, followed by a parade that went to Ginza and the Prime Minister’s Official Residence. Occupy Monsanto is an international effort to protest against genetically modified organisms and GM food.

Occupy Monsanto (E)

Different protest actions are planned for the coming months. In November, the event is held on Tuesday, November 6 from 18:00 to 20:00. This coincides with the US presidential election. The theme of the event will be to discuss what we can do about the situation as it is said that the brief time period directly after the US presidential election is the most dangerous time in terms of joining in the TPP negotiations. Let us raise our voices even more loudly and together stop TPP!

Campaign updates: (J)

Protect Life And Biological Diversity; Oppose Genetically Modified Food And TPP!

An Appeal from the NO! GMO Campaign in Japan
As part of our participation in Collective Rice Action (CORA) 2012

June 1, 2012

Protect life and biological diversity; oppose genetically modified food and TPP!

We are very concerned about the efforts by the government, business interests, and mass media to get Japan to join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement*. We hold that globalization is robbing us of the safety of the food we need to live, while destroying the natural environment, expanding poverty, and creating a society with huge differences between rich and poor, with little hope for our future. TPP is going to make things even worse as it pushes the globalization agenda even further. Moreover, the food rules of the United States or multinational corporations are promoted, especially in the push for world hegemony through the introduction of genetically modified (GM) foods. TPP will have a destructive influence on agriculture in Japan. The farmers here would not be able to survive, and we would constantly have concerns and fears about the dangers of the food on our tables. For example, food labeling rules may be changed for the worse so that we no longer know what it is we are eating.

Currently, the food from Japan’s own islands may be contaminated with radioactivity due to the Fukushima disaster. Our self-sufficiency, meaning the ability to feed our own people, and the safety of our food are under threat. If Japan enters TPP then GM food and GM crops would be forced upon us in large quantities,posing a risk to both farmers and our food. While we are strongly opposed to TPP and GM, we wish to protect agriculture in Japan, protect the food on our tables, and protect life and biological diversity.

*TPP is a new type of regional free trade agreement that goes beyond WTO rules in many areas and will have many detrimental effects for farmers and consumers. We interpret it to mean that Japan will be forced to further liberalize according to the agenda of multinational agribusiness corporations.

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From 22 May to 5 June 2012, 14 countries in Asia will band together for the COLLECTIVE RICE ACTION (CORA) 2012. People’s organisations, farmers, rural women, and rice consumers from PR China, Japan, Korea, Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Iran will be “Reclaiming Our Rice and Biodiversity!” — the theme for CORA 2012.

CORA was launched as the Week of Rice Action in 2007. Since then, the impacts of the campaign have reverberated throughout the region, mobilizing millions of people to participate in rallies, workshops, festivals and other advocacy activities. CORA 2012 follows in the successful legacy of WORA 2007, WORA 2008, YORA (Year of Rice Action) 2009-2010 and CORA 2011. This is the first time Iran is joining the CORA campaign. CORA 2012 which will also be a run-up the CBD (Convention for Biological Diversity) Conference of the Parties and Meeting of the Parties in October, 2012 to be held in India.

Lecture Series: Consumers’ Perspective on the TPP Problem

Consumers Union of Japan and other organizations have jointly started a lecture series to discuss the problems with free trade agreements from the consumers’ perspective.

During the APEC meeting in the fall of 2011, the Noda Administration expressed that Japan will participate in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. Mass media made it appear as if only farm groups are opposed to trade liberalization, belittling the difficulties while emphasizing the potential economic benefits. It seems that there are many people who do not understand what kind of influence the TPP will have over citizens’ daily lives, also among ordinary consumers. Consequently, we started this lecture series with the theme “Food safety is being threatened.” Continue reading Lecture Series: Consumers’ Perspective on the TPP Problem