Atsushi Kono considers it the gravest threat to his family’s farm in a century of rice-growing: a free-trade initiative that could dismantle Japan’s sky-high protective farming tariffs, finally opening up the country to cheap, foreign produce.
In a move pitting Japanese farmers against the nation’s export industries, Prime Minister Naoto Kan is pushing to join negotiations for an American-backed free-trade zone called the Trans-Pacific Partnership that would span the Pacific Rim.
The new zone would give Japanese exporters of cars, televisions and other manufactured goods greater access to the United States and other markets. But a trade agreement could dismantle the generous protections that have sustained Japanese farms for years — most notably, Japan’s 777.7 percent tariff on imported rice.
Read the rest of the story:Japan’s Farmers Oppose Pacific Free-trade Talks.