NAGUMO Speaks! RENGO's Statement by General Secretary
Government Decides to Join TPP Free-Trade Talks
18 March 2013
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced in the press conference on March 15 that his government has decided to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade talks and will inform the countries concerned to that effect. Since economic partnership is really one of the important policy issues in promoting economic growth and employment creation, we can understand the decision to participate in the TPP talks. However, while sufficient discussion and understanding have not yet progressed among the people, and while apprehension for each field of the talks is not yet wiped out, it is necessary for the Abe administration to do its duty to explain how it has reached the decision to participate in the talks as well as how the decision consists with the election promise of his party at the time of the general election last year.
As far as participation in the TPP talks is concerned, more than one year has passed since former government expressed its view to enter into consultation with the countries concerned in November 2011, but unfortunately there has been no substantial discussion since then, and time has passed in vain. While the current participants in the TPP talks are said to be aiming to conclude the talks by the end of this year, the negligence of the politics of both ruling and opposition parties must be severely questioned on the result that Japan has started far late in positively participating in making fair and equitable rules.
For now, the government is requested to collect information and analyze it appropriately through participating in the talks and to take thoroughgoing negotiation measures as well as carefully thought-out domestic measures. The government is also strongly requested to disclose information to the people appropriately, to inspect the trial calculation of the impacts, and to scrupulously take measures for working out national consensus. At the same time, as to the apprehensive issues, particularly those important fields like food and agriculture and forestry, safety and security of food, medical care and financial matters, all of which constitute the foundation of a secure society, it is necessary to take measures for them predominantly.
It is remembered that RENGO expressed its views on the then government’s “How the Government Is Dealing with Economic Partnership” adopted in December 2011. Since then, from the view point that there is a possibility to give impacts upon a wide range of fields in participating in the TPP trade talks, RENGO has demanded the government to deal with issues of concern appropriately. While paying close attention to how the present government is dealing with the talks and how the external and internal development is proceeding, RENGO will continue to carefully examine issues of concern and measures for them which will give impacts upon the life of people, and demand the government and political parties through policy consultation to take necessary steps for them.
Furthermore, RENGO will strengthen cooperation with various organizations concerned including the national trade union centers of TPP participating countries to collect information from them independently.
Aiming at building up “a secure society built around work as its core”, RENGO will do its utmost for realizing policies and systems from the standpoint of working and ordinary people so that the development of economic partnership around the Pacific and Asian region will contribute not only to the sustainable growth and employment creation in Japan but also to a fair and sustainable development and a realization of decent work in the region as a whole.