Japan’s most powerful farm group is redoubling efforts to lobby the government as well as the governing Liberal Democratic Party to carve out certain sensitive products from market access commitments.
The move comes as Japanese and European leaders are seeking to push through a free trade deal in Brussels early next month.
The Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, known as Zenchu, is insisting that any deal between Japan and the EU must maintain tariffs and border measures for agricultural products that are import-sensitive, such as pork and dairy.
At the same time, Zenchu is urging the government to inform of any developments in the ongoing negotiations. It says a lack of transparency is fueling fears among farmers that agriculture could be used as a bargaining chip for both sides to get the deal done.
Zenchu is also calling for the establishment of a framework to boost Japanese food exports to European markets.