Japan from the inside out

Ichigen koji (71)

Posted by ampontan on Tuesday, November 8, 2011

– A person who has something to say about everything

* The TPP might or might not be an American strategy, but to be clear about it, that doesn’t have anything to do with Japan. The critical point is only what Japan will do. That is the point of departure, but many people think first of the other party’s intentions. To think first of the other party’s intentions without thinking of your own strategy is not an intellectually independent stance.

* Mixed healthcare (i.e., insured and non-insured) will not come up in TPP. The opponents insist that it will, but maybe that’s a good idea. The TPP will not particularly demand that agriculture be conducted by large business enterprises. Unless it is, however, the producers won’t survive, and it will also benefit the consumers. At any rate, the issue is what Japan will do. The U.S. doesn’t really have anything to do with it.

* Both the highly regulated agriculture and healthcare industries are really growth sectors. Japan cannot grow if their status quo is maintained. Both should be growth sectors, but they’re frozen by vested interests. Breaking that ice should lead to growth. Why does Japanese ramen taste so good? Because it’s not regulated. (I’ve forgotten the name of the famous female commentator who first said that.)

* It’s the basic principle of negotiations to start only with proposals that benefit you. To say that you won’t negotiate because the other party looks tough is defeatism.

* I’m saying that I favor lifting the restrictions on mixed healthcare and corporate agriculture. I’m not saying that I agree with the United States. That mistake is short-circuited thinking, and it is not an argument. I really, really understand that some people in both sectors are against that. They’re the ones I’ve been opposed to from the start.

* I am opposed to the vested interests of the Medical Association and the agricultural cooperatives. Large scale agriculture at a high level of quality should be the policy for survival. If the United States recommends that policy to Japan, I’m in favor of it. That is not playing the footman to the U.S. Japan should do what it should do.

* The people who are uneasy about the safety of food from abroad are saying that they trust the Japanese government’s determination of food safety and distrust that of foreign countries. The Japanese government is responsible for the nonsense that a radiation standard of 500 Bq per kilogram is acceptable. I do not understand why they trust the government here but not those abroad.

* The opponents of TPP bring up the self-sufficiency ratio of food. If high numbers are so good, the North Koreans don’t have any imports and their ratio is nearly 100%. Numbers such as these for Japan alone have no meaning at all. Cheaper rice is a good thing.

– A series of Tweets on the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations from Hasegawa Yukihiro, a member of the editorial staff of the Tokyo Shimbun

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