Japan will eventually have to eliminate the tariffs it imposes on imported farm products despite its intention to keep them as an exception in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade negotiations it plans to join later this month, Malaysia's trade minister has indicated.
International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said Tuesday in Tokyo: "We need to know how long that (agriculture) sector needs to be protected. I think there's got to be some transitional arrangement" to ease the impact of the trade liberalization.
The central government estimates that Japan's agricultural output will drop by ¥3 trillion from the current total of about ¥7.1 trillion if the tariffs are eliminated under the TPP and no compensation measures are taken.
Mustapa acknowledged Japan's intention to protect rice and other sensitive farm products, saying every TPP country has domestic industries that need to be protected.
Japan's foreign minister announced a $7 billion initiative Monday to promote development in Southeast Asia's Mekong region, which encompasses parts of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand through which the river flows. (Japan Today)
Japan on Monday began its annual "Cool Biz" campaign, which encourages workers to dress more casually to help reduce energy use, with government offices allowing polo shirts, Hawaiian-style aloha shirts and similar attire. (Japan Times)
The Osaka District Public Prosecutor's Office has filed charges of drug trafficking against a 40-year-old woman who left a large quantity of illegal drugs inside a fast-food outlet, reports the Asahi Shimbun (April 30). (Tokyo Reporter)
An increasing number of people are using the "furusato nozei" hometown donation program to support Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, which has been hit hard by a recent series of strong earthquakes. (Jiji Press)