TOKYO – Seeking to block the move by Shinzo Abe’s government to rush forward with the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement, over 8,000 rallied here on October 15th.
Deliberations in the Japanese parliament, the Diet, on a bill to forcibly approve TPP ratification began on the previous day in the House of Representatives special committee on TPP issues.
Representing the rally initiators, Japan Housewives Association Advisor Yamane Kaoru delivered a speech. She criticized the Abe Cabinet for pushing ahead with the TPP ratification bill in defiance of controversies about problems such as misinterpretation of the TPP documents. She said, “Let’s strengthen and increase our opposition in order to foil the government’s attempt to ratify the TPP.”
People from various anti-TPP movements appeared on the stage and expressed their determination to block the government’s move to join in the free-trade framework.
Muranaka Chihiro, a member of a young people’s anti-TPP group in Hokkaido, said, “We will continue raising our voices until we can change the present pro-business society to one respecting people’s lives.”
A representative of a farmers’ group in Shiga Prefecture said, “The Abe administration’s pro-TPP policy will destroy Japan’s agriculture. There is no future for a nation incapable of feeding its people from domestic produce. I will work hard to put a stop to the TPP ratification.”
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) Secretariat Head Koike Akira, together with JCP Diet members Kasai Akira, Takahashi Chizuko, Hatano Kimie, and Hatayama Kazuya, attended the rally. Representatives of the Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Party (the former People’s Life Party) also participated.
In his speech, the JCP’s Koike pointed out that both of the 2016 U.S. presidential candidates are expressing their opposition to the TPP as American citizens are angry that they may be deprived of their jobs for the sake of multinational corporations. “Let’s join hands with people inside and outside Japan to stop the TPP.” Koike said.
A message from U.S. organization Public Citizen which opposes the TPP was read out at the rally.
After the rally, participants paraded through Tokyo’s busy shopping district of Ginza.