16 May 2015

Lawsuit Filed in Japan Against TPP

This is actually a not a tinfoil hat thing.

The lead plaintiff in this lawsuit against the TPP is a member of the Japanese Diet (Parliament) and former agriculture minister, and the the legal argument addresses a huge flash point in Japanese culture:
More than 1,000 people filed a lawsuit against the government on Friday, seeking to halt Japan’s involvement in 12-country talks on a Pacific Rim free trade agreement, which they called “unconstitutional.”

A total of 1,063 plaintiffs, including lawmakers, claimed in the case brought to the Tokyo District Court that the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership would undermine their basic human rights under the Constitution.

The lawsuit is led by Masahiko Yamada, 73, a lawyer who served as agriculture minister in 2010 as part of the Democratic Party of Japan government.

“The TPP could violate the Japanese right to get stable food supply, or the right to live, guaranteed by Article 25 of the nation’s Constitution,” Yamada, who abandoned his party in 2012 over then-Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s push to join the TPP talks, said Thursday before the court filing.

The envisaged pact would benefit big corporations but would jeopardize the country’s food safety and medical systems, and destroy the domestic farm sector, according to the plaintiffs.
One of the consistent concerns of Japanese society is food security, a rather unsurprising fact given that the nation is both densely populated and highly populated, placing arable land at a premium.

Particularly when juxtaposed with the Soybean Bounce of the 1970s, when the US abruptly embargoed soybean exports in response to a spike in livestock feed prices, which sent Japan scrambling for alternate sources of their dietary staple, this is is a big deal.

Even if the case gets laughed out of court, it will be a lightning rod for opponents of the deal.


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