TOKYO, Dec. 23 — Japan’s Agriculture Minister Ken Saito has defended the estimates the government released on impacts of recently signed trade deals, saying he will continue explaining farmers with details.
The government on Dec. 21 unveiled estimates of the impact on agricultural products from the two deals, namely the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the United States and the Japan-EU free trade agreement.
Yet some experts raise criticism that the government underestimates the impact on the farming sector because the estimates were calculated with the condition that agricultural production volume would not be changed.
“I don’t see any problem with the way it was calculated,” Saito said at a Dec. 22 press conference. “If specific questions are raised, we will explain with full account.”
He continued: “There are some imports whose tariffs will be phased out over a period of time, so of course, we will keep watching the effects.”
According to the estimates, the TPP will likely reduce agricultural output by between 90 billion and 150 billion yen, while the Japan-EU trade deal may slash it by between 60 billion yen and 110 billion yen, once the agreements come into force.