FTAs (free trade agreements) and TPP were in the news recently as Japan’s powerful Keidanren chairman, Yonekura supported discussions between South Korea, China and Japan on a FTA between the three. Yonekura is pushing the FTA to become the core of an ASEAN+6-wide integrated economic zone. Keidanren is also actively promoting Japan’s participation in TPP.
As Terrie Llyod points out, Japanese PM Noda appears to have sacrificed Japan’s participation in TPP with the appointment of anti-TPP proponent Akira Gunji as the new agriculture minister. Clear indication that Japan continues to protect its special interest groups at the expense of the general population.
Speaking of special interests, Japan’s attempts to protect its whaling industry at the expense of both whales and the nation’s image seem to be floundering. Despite the GOJ’s efforts to literally shove whale down the throats of Japan’s schoolchildren the meat is losing its appeal. The semi-governmental “Institute of Cetacean Research” has only been able to sell 303 tons of whale meat from last summer’s catch from the Northwest Pacific. That means that the remaining 908 tons are still in freezers. Public demand for whale meat is down sharply. A 2006 survey by the Nippon Research Centre found that 95% of Japanese people never or rarely eat whale meat.