Read the rest of this excellent post with links here.
Japanese farmers protest the TPP. (Photo: NHK World)
You may not know it, but Japanese people are very vocal and very outspoken. They protest a lot! Foreign media usually does not bother to cover activism in this part of the world. The current protests here in Japan against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a case in point.
Over 11 million Japanese people have signed a petition against TPP. They realize that "free" trade is nothing but a massive assault that will force impossible conditions on their livelihoods. What is so "free" about that?
It could be called the fourth disaster to strike in 2011, after the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
Joining TPP negotiations to eliminate 90% of agricultural tariffs would make it impossible to live in rural Japan.
TPP might lead to a lowering of Japan's food self-sufficiency from around 40% to 13%.
Asking Japan to import 87% of its food? That would essentially kill one of the best reasons this country has for attracting tourists. It would kill a way of life, both for small restaurants that depend on local produce, and for fancy places that assure its customers that they provide the very best. It would make rice farming next to impossible, thus all related farm activities in areas that are known for their delicious rice to collapse. These are not empty words in a country that appreciates its farmers. Consumers here are strong supporters of the agricultural policy that has evolved in spite of external pressure.
I have no idea where all those people in rural areas would move, what they would do, how they are supposed to manage.
Farmers are the backbone of rural Japan, and they contribute to Japan's cuisine, with more Michelin Guide 3 star resturants than France, and a very high level of food safety we all can enjoy - also in the cities.
That is connected to postal services, banking and other services in rural areas. Pensions? Health insurance? Hospitals? Ambulance services?
These are other sectors that are targeted for the direct assault and deregulation by the proposed TPP rules.
But the people here clearly understand the gravity of the situation. Thus, they protest. Wouldn't you??
11,668,809 people (so far, and counting) are against the TPP.
Shisaku has more updates on TPP and lively, great analysis with an emphasis on political actors.