10 May 2015

I've Heard this Song Before

In a Japanese redux of the Obama administrations secrecy on the Trans Pacific Partnership, the Abe administration has reneged on a promise of transparency:
A senior government official has backtracked on his proposal to give lawmakers access to the draft text of a 12-nation Pacific trade pact ahead of a potential deal.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, senior vice minister of the Cabinet office in charge of the negotiations, said his intent was misunderstood when he told a press conference on Monday that Japan will “make preparations to allow lawmakers access to the text next week” at the earliest.

Nishimura apparently withdrew the disclosure plan due to strong opposition from some government officials, who are concerned about differences in confidentiality obligations between Japan and the United States, according to informed sources.

In line with a rule agreed with the 11 other countries, only a handful of Japanese officials can currently read the text, such as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, TPP minister Akira Amari and chief TPP negotiator Koji Tsuruoka.

However, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office has already made the draft Trans-Pacific Partnership text available to U.S. legislators on condition they do not make any part of it public.

Nishimura said Thursday that Tokyo cannot take the same measure as Washington “there is a big difference between the duty of confidentiality” of lawmakers in the two countries.
If this deal cannot handle the light of day, which appears to be the case, it's a bad deal.


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