Monday, December 5, 2011

No. 12: Yes or No? The answer is between the two (December 6, 2011)

The Japanese government is still unsuccessful in formulating decisive and effective policies on how to get involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). All diet members and Japanese alike share the same opinion that it is necessary to make the domestic agriculture industry stronger. Nonetheless, diet members fail to reach an agreement on Japan’s direction toward the TPP. The turmoil can be attributed to the declaration of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

He declared, “The Japanese government will start negotiations with the countries involved to start discussions toward the participation in the TPP.” This rather unintelligible declaration caused the current stalemate. The Japanese government does not take his declaration as an official decision to participate in the TPP. What on the earth is his attitude, yes or no? The answer is between the two. As is often the case, no breakthrough can be found for this stalemate. A strange equilibrium exits between the supporters and opponents.

Because necessary measures and policies depend on future progress, both parties are very cautious about taking concrete actions. However, the Japanese government should not forget that it formulated only follow-up measures in the Uruguay Round (1986-1993) under the slogan “Do not allow foreign rice to come to the Japanese market” and wasted a 6 billion yen budget. The present Japan’s top leader does not seem to take a risk, as is often the case of a leader with excellent academic records. It should be noted that excellent academic records are merely one of the prerequisites to be a top leader.

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