What does the TPP mean for Japan’s agricultural sector?

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a meeting in Manila on 18 November, 2015, with his counterparts from 11 other countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bloc. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

The issue of liberalising Japan’s agricultural market presented a major, if not the major hurdle to the Abe administration’s agreement with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal struck in Atlanta on 5 October 2015. Read more…

Abe looks to reassure farmers on TPP

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses the inaugural meeting at the government's headquarters on domestic measures for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade initiative on October 9, 2015, in Tokyo. He vowed to implement measures to beef up the country's agricultural sector in the wake of the landmark free trade accord involving Japan, the United States and 10 other Pacific Rim countries. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

Does Japan’s accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement mean that the Abe government has set a course for agricultural reform? The short answer is no — for several reasons. Read more…

Japan’s agricultural reforms watered down but still significant

A newly planted rice field in Japan. The draft bill presented to the Diet on 3 April to reform the Japan agricultural cooperative (JA) organisation is a very much watered-down version of the initial recommendations for JA reform. (Photo: Flickr User, Amir Jina).

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW

In his 29 April speech to US Congress, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proudly referred to his administration’s ‘sweeping reforms to our agricultural cooperatives that have not changed in 60 long years’. Read more…

The Abe administration outmanoeuvres JA in Japan’s local elections

Akira Banzai, president of  JA-Zenchu, is surrounded by reporters at the headquarters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Tokyo on 9 February 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

The Abe administration’s policy of separating the organisational interests of JA-Zenchu, the peak body of agricultural cooperatives (JA), from the interests of the prefectural central unions (chūōkai) and local cooperatives and farmers generally paid off in April’s local government elections. Read more…

The Empire Strikes Back: Reforming Japan’s agricultural co-ops and the local elections

A campaign staff puts up posters for candidates in local assembly elections in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture on 3 April 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW

The nationwide local government elections in April are the ideal opportunity for Japan’s agricultural cooperative organisation (JA) led by the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (JA-Zenchu) to respond to the Abe administration’s recent reforms of the JA group. Read more…

The Abe push behind the Australian sub deal

Australia's Defence Minister David Johnston and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop pose for photos with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, 11 June 2014. Japan and Australia are considering a submarine deal, as Abe pushes to give his country a more assertive global military role. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

In July 2014, the Abe government adopted the ‘Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology’, which approved Japanese weapons exports as long as certain conditions are met. Read more…

How will Japan’s new agriculture minister influence the TPP negotiations?

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW, Canberra

Japan’s new Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) Yoshimasa Hayashi, who previously served in the position in 2012–14, was a logical choice to take over from his disgraced predecessor Koya Nishikawa. He arrived at the Prime Minister’s Office (Kantei) only five minutes after Nishikawa left, and was apparently selected because he was ‘the only one that could immediately do the job’. Read more…