Tag Archives: Opinion

【Opinion】 Imitating American style is not a way to build strong agricultural sector (Dec. 21, 2015)

  Tatsuru Uchida, philosopher and martial artist For the past decade, I have been offering an adult education program at my school. This year’s theme is comparative institutional analysis, in which attendants compare mechanisms of specific sectors in Japan and foreign countries. The theme was set to let attendants realize that some mechanisms regarded by Japanese people as the norm are actually something unique and unparalleled in other countries. The other day, one of the attendants gave a presentation on the comparison of agricultural protection policies in Japan and the United States. A former worker at a multinational enterprise, he moved to a mountainous area in Hyogo Prefecture to engage … Continue reading

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【Opinion】 Primary farm co-ops’ directors should represent regional interests (Sept. 29, 2015)

  Yoichi Tashiro, Professor of agricultural economics at Otsuma Women’s University The revised Agricultural Co-operative Society Law, which strongly reflects the intentions of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration, was recently approved in the Diet. There are many aspects of the law that don’t make sense, and a rule on assigning primary farm co-ops (JAs)’ directors is one of them. The new law states that more than half of primary JAs’ directors should be certified farmers or professionals of farm product sales and corporate management, and that boards of directors should not be largely imbalanced in terms of age and gender. However, JAs are not public institutions nor government-funded organizations. They … Continue reading

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【Opinion】 Are agricultural co-ops old-fashioned? (July 14, 2015)

  Senior special writer, Masaru Yamada “Agricultural co-ops are old-fashioned and do not contribute to strengthening agriculture. It is necessary to get the help of private companies.” This is what supporters of the ongoing agricultural co-operatives reform apparently think. But when we turn our eyes abroad, we see a different landscape. Many industrialized countries are pushing to empower farmers’ organizations. Are they going in the wrong direction, or is Japan going the wrong way? The Australian government released the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper on Monday, July 6, and outlined initiatives and commitments by the government on five priority areas to ensure a stronger farm sector. At the top of the … Continue reading

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【Opinion】 Yoshio Yaguchi ; Ensuring democracy in rural villages necessary for sustainable society (July 7, 2015)

  As an agricultural economist, I have thought about how to maintain sustainability of a society. Looking back at the history from this viewpoint, I think there were two major turning points in Japan after the end of World War II. The first one came in the early years of the 1970s, when the Japanese economy suffered stagflation (inflation amid economic stagnation) caused by oil shocks. To cope with the situation, the government introduced market fundamentalism and shifted to allow for freer economic activities, prompting agriculture to go through major reform as well. Being born into a farming family and brought up in a rural village, I have witnessed Japan’s … Continue reading

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【Opinion】 The U.S. trade promotion authority vs. Japan’s Diet resolution (June 16, 2015)

  Yoichi Tashiro, Professor of agricultural economics at Otsuma Women’s University The U.S. House of Representatives has narrowly passed the Trade Promotion Authority bill, which would give President Barack Obama the latitude to negotiate a 12-nation Pacific trade deal sought by most Republicans, but since Democrats sank the related Trade Adjustment Assistance bill to slow down the process, further Congressional maneuvering is expected this week. It is surprising that the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade talks is becoming such an issue of controversy in U.S. politics. This shows that democracy still exists in the U.S. unlike in Japan, where the government is rushing to conclude the talks. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has … Continue reading

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