【News】 Japan’s agricultural Minister denies possibility of eliminating import tariffs of soft-type cheeses at trade negotiations with EU (June 17, 2017)

Yuji Yamamoto, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) told the press after the Cabinet meeting on July 16 that he will not accept EU’s demand for Japan’s elimination 0f import tariff on soft-type cheese at the negotiations for a Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) free trade accord, saying “Our response will inevitably take a tough line on the EU’s demand in this respect. EU’s negotiators have been calling not only for tariff elimination of hard-type cheese that Japan accepted at the past Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deals, but also for that of soft-type cheeses that was rejected at the TPP talks. Supposing the import barriers for soft-type cheeses … Continue reading

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【News】Japanese farmers’ discontent grows over JP-EU trade talks (June 22, 2017)

Japanese farmers say their job is not easy these days, and it is getting harder when they are being kept in the dark regarding ongoing trade negotiations that could potentially put them out of business. As Japanese and European leaders are seeking to reach a political agreement in a free trade deal early next month, there is a growing discontent among the Japanese farming community as well as the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), as the substance of the Japan-EU trade talks is still unavailable. That prompted Japan’s foreign ministry to meet the press on June 20 to explain for the first time about the ongoing talks with the EU. … Continue reading

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【News】Japan and Russia affirm joint activities in Northern Territories (June 20, 2017)

The Japanese and Russian agriculture ministries have affirmed they are carrying out joint agricultural activities on the disputed islands, controlled by Moscow but that have been claimed by Tokyo since the end of World War II. The first meeting took place in Tokyo on June 19, and was co-chaired by senior officials from the two governments. This is part of the agreement reached between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Vladimir Putin at the Japan-Russia summit in December last year. The two countries have not yet signed a peace treaty to end WWII, due to the territorial issue. The four islands stretch from Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido to Russia’s … Continue reading

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【News】Ruling party’s Diet members warns governmental officials not to sacrifice agriculture for better automobiles access to EU market (June 17, 2017)

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) held a meeting of the “Headquarters for Japan EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)” on June 16, chaired by Koya Nishikawa, one of the LDP’s key leaders for agricultural and trade policies. A number of LDP’s Diet members attending the meeting shared a common comment that the field of agriculture must not be sacrificed by that of industry at the ongoing trade negotiations between Japan and the European Union. Regarding a controversial agenda of automobile, the Japan-EU talk is deadlocked since Japan has been calling for elimination of EU’s current tariff of 10 percent on Japanese passenger cars as early as possible. Meanwhile, Japan is … Continue reading

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【News】Representative of Japanese agricultural cooperatives urges ruling party to keep boarder measures in Japan-EU EPA negotiations (June 16, 2017)

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) invited representatives of farmers’ organizations on July 15 at a meeting of a group of agriculture, forestry and fishery set up in LDP’s Headquarters for Japan EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to ask for their views about ongoing EPA free trade negotiations. Choe Okuno, president of JA ZENCHU (Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives), an apex body of agricultural cooperatives in Japan, called for protection of domestic agriculture through boarder measures including tariffs so as to enable Japanese farmers to continuously produce major commodities. LDP’s Diet members attending the meeting expressed their views supporting Choe Okuno one after another by urging that a Japan-EU EPA … Continue reading

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