【News】Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Support Act enacted in Japan (May 13, 2017)

A bill for Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Support Act was passed in a plenary session of the House of Councilors on May 12 by a majority vote, mostly led by members of ruling parties.

Shinzo Abe’s administration has been advocating an enactment of the bill as a centerpiece of agricultural reform-related bills, which aims at proceeding realignment of the agricultural industry so as to promote price reduction of farm inputs as well as streamline distribution of agricultural products.

Yuji Yamamoto, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries told the press after the Cabinet meeting on the same day that his Ministry will make efforts to draft ministerial ordinances for the Act as early as possible, saying “The Act will play an essential role in achieving the agricultural reform.”

The article five of the Act provides that agricultural organizations such as agricultural cooperatives (JAs) shall pay maximum consideration to an agricultural income growth of farmers.

There were increasing concerns that the Act would give the grounds for the government to excessively intervene in business managements of JAs’ organizations.

At a session of the House of Councilors’ Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries held on May 11, therefore, members of ruling and opposition parties agreed to adopt a supplementary resolution requiring the government to play its basic role in encouraging voluntary efforts by farmers and their agricultural cooperatives when it applies the article five of the Act.

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