New minister seeks cooperation on farm reform with JA group

TOKYO, Oct. 4 ― Japan’s new agriculture minister, Takamori Yoshikawa, has said that he wants to work the sector’s reform with the country’s largest farmers’ group, or JA group.

“The core of the farm reform is to boost farmers’ income and support young people to run farms with a focus on production,” Yoshikawa told the Japanese press in an interview on Oct. 3, one day after he was appointed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

In the latest cabinet reshuffle Abe retained key ministers in their posts, who have been handling thorny trade issues with the United States.

Last week, the Japanese prime minister and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to begin negotiations for a trade agreement on goods (TAG). The new trade talks will likely start early next year.

When asked about the upcoming TAG talks with the U.S., Yoshikawa said: “We would not exceed tariff cuts on agricultural products that have been already agreed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).”

He also stressed that the government will speed up recovery efforts in areas that have been hit hard by natural disasters, including the recent Hokkaido earthquake and torrential rains in western Japan.

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