The Tokyo district court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a civil society group that claims the Japanese government has violated the constitution by agreeing to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal.
The court on June 7 also rejected the group’s request to block the government from signing the pact, explaining this is in the realm of executive power and a civil lawsuit cannot stop it.
Moreover the judge said the plaintiffs failed to state a claim that the deal undermines basic human rights, because the TPP has not yet come into force.
The group of nearly 1,600 people includes farmers, workers and healthcare professionals. It filed the case against the government in May 2015. In its complaints it said the TPP deal raises serious concerns such as human rights and food safety.
The deal will also limit Japan’s universal health care coverage and lead to higher drug prices through stronger intellectual property rights protection, making new medical treatment and medicines unaffordable, it said.
After the ruling Masahiko Yamada, the head of the civil group, argued that a Japan-US bilateral agreement, in return for Tokyo to join the TPP negotiations in 2013, has triggered various policy recommendations.
“The TPP requires the signatories to reform their domestic laws and policies,” said Yamada, a former agriculture minister in 2010. “We should not accept such a ruling.”
The civil group will likely appeal.