Tag Archives: Interviews

【Interview】 Japan made too large concessions for the sake of reaching deal in TPP talks: farm policy expert (Oct. 7, 2015)

  Shinji Hattori, head of Kokusai-Nosei Kenkyusho (International Agricultural Policy Research Institute), criticized Japan for making too many concessions in the agricultural sector of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade negotiations, casting doubt over whether the TPP agreement would help boost domestic farming. The Japanese government was so eager to strike a broad agreement under the TPP scheme that it apparently failed to take a hard stance especially against the United States. As for the most controversial issue of rice, Japanese negotiators ended up allocating more import quota for U.S. rice than what was reported earlier. The negotiators should have held their ground until the last moment. The reason why they were … Continue reading

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【Interview】 Government is “betraying” its people regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade talks: Takashi Shinohara, head of the Democratic Party of Japan’s group “cautious” about the TPP (July 17, 2015)

  Q. How do you see the government’s negotiating stance on the TPP scheme? A. The government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party continue to lie about the TPP, betraying the Japanese people and farmers. The LDP won the Lower House election in 2012 by pledging not to participate in the TPP framework. But in March 2013, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that Japan will join the talks. Since then, the government has changed their way of saying many times and is becoming more and more aggressive. What happened to the promise that the government will work to exempt key items from tariff cuts? The government should engage in negotiations … Continue reading

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【Interview】 Agricultural co-ops group head calls on members to cooperate to conduct reform (April 17, 2015)

President Akria Banzai of the Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives (JA-Zenchu), said in an interview with The Japan Agricultural News he “felt it was necessary to make some kind of a judgement as a leader which accepted an unprecedented transformation,” admitting that he decided to resign after he agreed to the government’s outline of agricultural co-ops reform. He asked his successor to conduct self-reform based on the unity of people, which is the origin of co-operatives. Q. Can you tell us again why you decided to resign? A. I started thinking about it around mid-February, after I accepted the outline of agricultural co-ops reform. I thought one stage came to … Continue reading

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【Interview】 Mountainous areas cannot survive without agricultural co-ops (Jan. 28, 2015)

  <As debate within the government and the ruling bloc heats up over reforming agricultural co-operatives, local governments which work together with JAs to revitalize the farm sector and their regions are concerned about how the reform would affect them. Following is an interview with Masahiro Nakahira, mayor of Shimanto in Kochi Prefecture.> People and farmers in Japan’s mountainous areas cannot imagine life without JAs’ services. Private companies expand business in regions with huge population which would generate profits, but in less populated areas, JAs have been and will be the only entities which can offer services. And we should not forget the fact that the agricultural sector has a … Continue reading

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【Interview】 Objections to government’s agricultural co-op reform plan (Jan. 22, 2015)

  <As debate heats up over reforming agricultural co-operatives, the Japan agricultural co-op group and Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers close to the agricultural sector are strongly offended by the government’s stance to radically reform the JA group’s auditing system and non-farmer members’ use of JAs’ services. Following is an interview with Shinji Hatta, professor of Aoyama Gakuin University’s Graduate School of Professional Accountancy, regarding the points at issue.> Agricultural co-operatives’ auditing system has become the focus of debate over reforming the JA group, but the issue is being discussed without any input from accounting experts. I totally disagree with government officials who say that auditing by the Central Union of … Continue reading

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