How A Feeble Joke At A Party Derailed Japan's Ratification Of TPP At The Last Moment

from the did-you-hear-the-one-about-the-Japanese-farm-minister? dept

Since both US presidential candidates have said that they are against TPP -- whether they mean it, is another matter -- the Pacific trade deal has rather dropped off the political radar. But the US is not the only country that needs to ratify the deal: most of the other 11 countries participating need to do the same if it is to come into force. Because of the size of its economy, the critical one is Japan. But something rather strange has just happened: where it looked certain that country would ratify TPP this week, it has now been postponed. A story in The Japan Times explains the sequence of events that led up to this surprising twist:

While attending an Oct. 18 party organized by Tsutomu Sato, chairman of the Lower House Committee on Rules and Administration, [Japan's farm minister] Yamamoto had blurted out, "It’s up to Mr. Sato to decide whether to forcibly pass the [TPP] bill."

Yamamoto's undemocratic suggestion that the TPP bill could be steamrolled through the Diet [Japan's bicameral legislature] immediately ignited the ire of opposition lawmakers, recalling an earlier blunder by a different LDP lawmaker who said in September that he wanted to realize the "forcible" passage of the bill.
As a result of Yamamoto's ill-advised comment, the special committee tasked with TPP deliberations did not adopt the relevant bill. That, in its turn, meant the bill could not be sent to to the ruling coalition-controlled Lower House plenary session on Friday for a last-minute approval before the US election. Here's why the Japanese government was so keen to make that deadline:
Tokyo was desperate to pass the bill through the Lower House plenary session before [US] Election Day. Such a decisive legislative step, the government hoped, would send a powerful message that Japan has no intention of accepting a request for renegotiations from the U.S. side.
Given the government majority, it seems likely that the TPP bill will finally pass at some point in the near future. But the fact that a rather unfunny joke was able to throw a spanner in the works even at this late stage shows that when it comes to trade deals, things aren't over until they are over, as the recent CETA saga also indicates.

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Filed Under: japan, joke, tpp, tsutomu sato


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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 3 Nov 2016 @ 11:37pm

    If only more leaders were concerned with how it looks as they forcibly try to pass the secret legislation binding citizens to some of the most bat shit ideas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2016 @ 6:36am

      Re:

      That is a huge problem, with everyone.

      It's importance is on "how it looks" rather than if it will actually do any good. Humans really need to get the fuck over themselves on looks.

      Sure it looks nice, but I am not taking any bus on a direct route to hell!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    hij (profile), 4 Nov 2016 @ 3:00am

    Puffed out chests and locked horns

    Never underestimate the power of men who have their authority or their masculinity questioned. Should we check to see how big their hands are?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2016 @ 12:10pm

      Re: Puffed out chests and locked horns

      But at least they are authentic!
      That is what really matters! I bet you'd like to have a beer with Mr Yamamoto, wouldn't you!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2016 @ 5:26am

    What makes you think it was a joke?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2016 @ 7:44am

    Since both US presidential candidates have said that they are against TPP

    Obama will ram TPP through the lame duck
    Congress, so that all the lame duck politicians
    can retire to their new cushy crony lobbyist
    careers.

    The deplorable little people simply can't
    be trusted to know what's good for their
    own best interests.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    beltorak (profile), 4 Nov 2016 @ 9:33am

    > But the fact that a rather unfunny joke was able to throw a spanner in the works even at this late stage shows that ...

    I think it shows rather clearly what children we humans tend to elect into positions of responsibility.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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