Over 1000 Japanese Citizens Band Together To Sue Their Government Over Participation In TPP

from the a-bit-late-now? dept

Back in March, we reported on a campaign in Japan seeking to raise awareness about the extreme copyright provisions in TPP. Of course, making copyright even more unbalanced is just one of many problems with TPP, and arguably not even the worst. Now activists in the country have launched a much broader attack on the whole agreement by filing a lawsuit against the Japanese government in an attempt to halt its involvement in the talks. As Mainichi reports:

A total of 1,063 plaintiffs, including eight lawmakers, claimed in the case brought to the Tokyo District Court that the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact would undermine their basic human rights such as the right to live and know that are guaranteed under the Constitution.

The envisaged pact would not only benefit big corporations but jeopardize the country’s food safety and medical systems and destroy the domestic farm sector, according to their written complaint.

As well as oft-voiced concerns that Japan’s key agricultural sector would be harmed, the plaintiffs are also worried that TPP will push up drug prices — something that is a big issue for other nations participating in the negotiations. The new group rightly points out that corporate sovereignty jeopardizes the independence of Japan’s judicial system, and said that the secrecy surrounding the talks:

violates the people’s right to know as the document is confidential and the negotiating process will be kept undisclosed for four years after the agreement takes effect.

Although it is hard to judge how much of a threat this move represents to Japan’s continuing participation in TPP, the legal firepower behind it is certainly impressive: according to the Mainichi story, there are 157 people on the legal team. At the very least, it shows that resistance to TPP and its one-sided proposals is growing — and not just in the US. But you can’t help thinking it would have been a good idea for concerned Japanese citizens to have made this move earlier, rather than leaving it to the eleventh hour, with TPP close to the finishing line.

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Comments on “Over 1000 Japanese Citizens Band Together To Sue Their Government Over Participation In TPP”

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Anonymous Coward says:

It’s getting harder and harder to sell this trade deal as one. It’s secrecy is now it’s hazard.

Obama has tried to sell this here as being transparent. He’s boxed himself in a political corner over it by going against his own party and calling up some of who probably would have been supporters. All this in an election run up year, which won’t speak good for his party.

The one thing that would save him, he won’t do. If he were to make the deal public and remove the secrecy, then everyone could see if it were as he says. At this juncture, his creditability is shot by the ‘most transparent administration in history’ and by ‘if you like your doctor you can keep him’ statements. If you can’t believe the one claiming things you have to see it for yourself. Failure to do that means only one thing, it won’t pass inspection in the light of day and needs to fail.

You are being watched (profile) says:


Maybe the Japanese people tried literally everything in their arsenal to view the TPP, then moved on to using the leaked document (which, according to USG, is not the final form so should be dismissed; pathetic attempt is pathetic) to raise awareness to several extreme problems within TPP and have now finally amassed enough legal firepower (or as much as they could anyways) at the eleventh hour to sue their own government into not signing the damn thing. Bonus points to the Japanese people for having been the first* people to actually sue their government over this “trade” agreement.

*unless someone can point me to another country’s people who sued first cause so far it’s been politicians saying “Wait a minute here…”

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Escalating

unless someone can point me to another country’s people who sued first …

Well, there was that Magna Carta thing, and I think Brutus and his merry band of senatorial assassins may be prior art.

I’m so going to enjoy watching this case. Over a thousand peed off with the blood of the Samurai boiling through their veins.

Also, I didn’t know this monstrosity would be secret for another four years after it’s in effect. What a con game this is! They’ve got a secret, invitation only club going on in TPP. Imagine having the inside story on what effects this will have four years ahead of everyone else. Best gov’t money can buy!

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Escalating

Sorry, I took advantage of the noose you offered me. 🙂

How many countries allow their citizens to sue their gov’t, and for what do they allow them to sue? That’d be an interesting list. I know the US is a hodgepodge (US states just enjoy not being other US states) but others out there must do it sensibly (I wish).

I imagine Amnesty Intl. could provide that list. Accessing, … contactus@amnesty.org email in progress …

gregfullmoon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Escalating

The agreement’s negotiating documents are sealed for 4 years, after the agreement is signed, or from when negotiations collapse.

The final agreement will become public upon the agreement of the parties.

Michael Froman the USTR negotiator has said that the agreed final document will be available for public scrutiny for 60 days prior to Government signature.

The agreement will then need to go through each nation’s formal Assent process. In the USA this process could be speedy if TPA or Fast track is supported by the House as well as the Senate. Or labourious if no TPA as Congress will go through it clause by clause.

For each of the other nations they have to go through their particular lawful process.

Hope this helps with the ‘4 year secrecy limitation.’

Anything that goes through a Parliament generally has to be able to be read and as such must be public. Only the background docs are sealed.

We in New Zealand have a considerable campaign being waged against it. Our itsourfuture.org.nz website carries much of what we do and just tonight the latest emailed newsletter:


tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Escalating

Hope this helps with the ‘4 year secrecy limitation.’

Thanks for clearing that up. So, four years after it goes into effect, we’ll be able to find out what and when some Sony lawyer stuffed something into the agreement, at the urging of someone, & etc.

Makes you wonder if it’s such a great deal, why put a gag order on it?

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Escalating

“Never mind that fracking produces earthquakes and poisons aquifers – corrupt politicians at local, state or province, and national levels are all too happy to take money for looking the other way. Our entire commercial, diplomatic, and informational systems are now cancerous. When trade treaties have secret sections – or are entirely secret – one can be certain the public is being screwed and the secrecy is an attempt to avoid accountability. Secrecy enables corruption. So also does an inattentive public enable corruption.”

So says ex-CIA guy predicting revolution for stuff like this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Domestic Farming being harmed in trade deals is nothing new

Sadly domestic farming losing out in trade deals is nothing new. The same happened with NAFTA when it came to Mexico.

A bunch of smaller and poorer Mexican farmers were driven out of business by NAFTA. Because they couldn’t compete against the bigger and much richer farmers in US (many of which were large corporations). They had more land, and could afford much better technology to grow the same crops for less. Many Mexican farmers went out of business from NAFTA.

Different parts of the US economy were similarly devastated by NAFTA because of the cheaper Mexican labor.

edinjapan (profile) says:

JA aka Nokkyo behind lawsuit

Japan Agriculture, which is a government agency is one of the groups behind the lawsuit. The TPP will break their monolithic hold over the agricultural industry (which is a closed shop) in Japan. JA has for half a century had a chokehold over the farmers in Japan, dictating what they grow, how they grow it and where, when and for how much they sell it. TPP is bad but, for the farmers may be the lesser of 2 evils.

Another protected group is the pharmaceutical companies. Prices for over the counter drugs are 10 times more expensive than what the US consumer pays and prescription drugs, while subsidized by National Health Insurance are more costly than programs run by Britain, Canada, most European nations or the much reviled Obamacare. Again the TPP is the lesser evil in this case.

Where the TPP will hurt Japan and most of the ASEAN countries is in the protection of intellectual properties.

Japan is foundering under Abe’s 3 Arrows, he’s basically shot himself in the foot, in the ass and in the balls with his poorly managed economic strategies.

Sure, the Yen dropped in value, the stockmarket rose and corporations were able to realize more actual profits but each of these policies were short term, didn’t see more people being hired and saw more capital taking flight overseas.

The last thing we need in Japan is a more aggressive military and a secret trade pact that will enrich the rich and powerful in the US and further cripple the Japanese economy.

The rest of Asia, especially the PRC, Thailand, Vietnam, to a lesser extent Cambodia and Myanmar play fast and loose with copyright, trademarks, patents and such.

Thailand has a thriving pharmaceutical and medical industry based on the use of new drugs and medical procedures that are still in the trial phases in the US and the rest of the developed world. China pirates and reverse engineers everything they can get their hands on and Vietnam is following their example.

Singapore is a financial and intellectual powerhouse that doesn’t need US or European intervention, interference or oversight and Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines while lagging behind the rest are doing much better than the much feted, loved and reviled US juggernaut.

In short, Asia doesn’t need the TPP but we do need a trade agreement that reflects our concerns and promotes the growing Asian potential to influence and grow the markets in a positive way.

David E.H. Smith says:

Japanese Lawsuit based upon Canadian 'Submission' to Supreme Court of Canada?

How similar is the lawsuit by the citizens of Japan to ‘The Submission’ to The SUPREME COURT of CANADA: ‘The SHAREHOLDERS & Corporations of AMERICA, China, Canada, the EU, the Trans Pacific nations, et al v. the (harmless) Canadian NON shareholders, both; Native & non Native, et al’ including ‘The MERKEL (Chancellor of Germany) Letter; To Sue, or, Be Sued?’ (see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com)?
*** For the FULL ‘Submission’, see; The SUPREME COURT of CANADA
*** Please consider sharing the enclosed information & questions with 10 friends who will share it with 10 others…

Anonymous Coward says:


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