【News】 69 percent feel Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement violates Diet resolutions: readers’ poll (Oct. 28, 2015)



TPP2As much as 69 percent of The Japan Agricultural News readers who responded to a poll said Japan failed to keep the Diet resolutions calling for protection of key agricultural products in the broad agreement reached under the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade talks.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe maintains that Japanese negotiators “were able to obtain the best possible result from the perspective of Japan’s national interest” including the agriculture sector, but the result of the poll shows that farmers take it quite differently. The support rate for the Abe administration dropped to the record low level of 18 percent, and 59 percent said they don’t support him.

The poll was conducted in mid-October on 1,060 readers, mainly farmers, who are registered as agricultural policy monitors. 771 responded by Tuesday, Oct. 27.

According to the results of the poll, only 7 percent of the respondents said they believe the TPP agreement abides by the resolutions approved by the agriculture committees of the Upper and Lower Houses. The resolution approved by the Upper House committee states: “Sensitive agriculture, forestry and fisheries products — including rice, wheat and barley, beef and pork, dairy products, sugar and starch crop — are either to be excluded from the negotiations or to be subject to renegotiation in order to maintain sustainable domestic production.”

Meanwhile, Abe said the government was “successful in ensuring these products were excluded from the list of tariff elimination,” which means a large gap exists between the government’s interpretation of the resolution and that of farmers. 22 percent said they don’t know whether the agreement is in line with the resolutions.

The poll results indicate that the evaluation of the agreement by respondents depends on how much impact they think the agreement will have on farming business. 87 percent of the respondents who believe their business will be deteriorated by the agreement said the agreement violates the Diet resolutions. 48 percent of farmers polled said their business conditions will worsen because of the agreement. Among farmers who said their business conditions will slightly worsen, 64 percent responded the agreement goes against the Diet resolutions. Among those who said they don’t know how the agreement would influence their business, 49 percent responded the agreement goes against the resolutions and 44 percent said they don’t know.

Only 18 percent supported Abe’s Cabinet, while 59 percent, three times more than those who support the administration, disapprove it. 22 percent said they don’t know. Among farmers who think their business will worsen because of the agreement, the support rate was as low as 8 percent, while the disapproval rating was 75 percent, reflecting farmers’ negative feedback on Abe’s policies.

(Oct. 28, 2015)

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