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.
Government figures show a sharp and continuous fall-off in the number of farmers over the past five years that potentially threatens the landscape as its stewards leave the sector and are not replaced. (Japan Times)
Japan plans to boost financial aid to developing countries to help them tackle climate change by providing about ¥1.3 trillion (about $10.6 billion) a year by 2020, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday. (The Japan News)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Friday re-arrested more than a dozen suspects, including one organized crime member, as a part of an ongoing health insurance fraud investigation that now includes comedians affiliated with a major entertainment agency, reports Sports Hochi (Nov. 28). (Tokyo Reporter)
No major gangster bloodbath has occurred in the three months since Japan's largest yakuza organization, Yamaguchi-gumi, split into two rival mobs, but to say the sides are living in harmony would be an exaggeration. (Asahi)
A 60-year-old man in Tochigi Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, who claims to be an exorcist was arrested Thursday on suspicion of killing a diabetic boy by halting the administration of insulin, police said. (Japan Today)