Party Statement on the Tabling of Japan-US TPP Talks

We believe that the thrust of the recent Japan-US Summit Meeting was to strengthen the Japan-US alliance to bring about the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region, bearing in mind the presence of a rapidly emerging China. In that sense, we applaud the outcomes such as the clarity of the joint statement in specifying that the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa fall under the protection of the Japan-US Security Treaty. However, it is deeply regrettable that Japan-US talks on the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) broke down over tariffs on agricultural products and other issues.

The TPP is very significant not only for increasing Japan’s growth potential but also for the security of Japan and the region as it aims to contain China through the establishment of an economic order led by Japan and the US. It is for that reason that the Happiness Realization Party has been strongly emphasizing the importance of TPP participation.

The Abe administration has positioned the TPP as a growth strategy, but because it has sought to exclude five major agricultural categories from tariff elimination requirements, negotiations have come to an impasse. However, even if protection of small-scale part-time farmers through high tariffs is continued as an election tactic, Japanese agriculture will only dwindle away. Participation in the TPP will increase agricultural productivity and promote exports, which will secure a future for Japanese agriculture, so it will suffice to subsidize the farmers necessary for ensuring food security.

In the bigger picture, Japan needs to hammer out the TPP negotiations quickly to avoid having national interests damaged due to being bogged down with domestic affairs. Considering President Obama’s cautious approach to foreign affairs and the large amount of US bonds held by China, we cannot take it for granted that the Obama administration will not abandon the relationship with Japan to pursue further reconciliation with China.

We again urge the Japanese government to work on early conclusion of TPP negotiations from the perspective of our national interests.

Ryoko Shaku,
Party Leader,
Happiness Realization Party