【News】LDP sets up committee for JP-EU trade deal amid PM Abe’s push(June 7, 2017)

Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has set up a committee to consult its members and stakeholders to ease anxiety over the Japan-EU free trade deal. The move coincides with a high-level push by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to wrap up the negotiations early in July.

Japan and the European Union leaders are now aiming to reach a free trade agreement when both sides meet at the sidelines of the July 7-8 G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

Koya Nishikawa has been chosen to preside the committee, which is expected to meet once a week. Nishikawa is currently the chairman of LDP’s research commission on agriculture and food strategy, after stepping down as agriculture minister in 2015.

Some experts believe it is probably better to describe him as Japan’s most influential politician behind the scenes in agriculture due to the power of the LDP’s “farm tribe” and its vote-gathering ability.

When it comes to the country’s sensitive agriculture products, Nishikawa told reporters: “We will make sure the deal with the EU would not adversely impact on our farmers.”

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