Yuji Yamamoto, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, told the press about his prospect for the coming Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue after the Cabinet meeting held on March 17, saying “My interpretation is that issues of agriculture, forestry and fisheries will not be put on a table from a beginning of the bilateral dialogue.”
Agricultural Minister Yamamoto clarified his understanding that agriculture has not been currently included in the agenda of the economic dialogue, although some officials of the U.S. administration are increasingly demanding Japan to further liberalize its farm market.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence plans to visit Japan this April to kick off the Japan-U.S. economic dialogue with Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso, in which they are expected to discuss wide-ranging issues of trade and economy of the two countries.
The Japanese Government sent to the United States last week a mission of vice-minister-level officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry, and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to make arrangements in preparation of a framework for the economic dialogue.
Officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), however, did not join the mission.
At the press conference, MAFF’s head Yuji Yamamoto responded to a question on why MAFF did not take part in the vice-minister-level mission, saying “Preparations are now being made for the list of agendas, but we have not yet been called. At this moment, agricultural issues are not put into the list. That is why MAFF found it unnecessary to send its vice-minister to the United States last week.”