A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
A look at the news

“Historic reforms” are expected for Japanese agriculture

June 30, 2014

“Breaking down the barriers that impede Japan’s growth potential” summed up the viewpoint of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on June 24, when he released the third arrow of “Abenomics”, the name of his strategy to achieve competitiveness gains for the country.

Several measures are being considered, including significant reforms for Japanese agriculture. The government wants to make agriculture more competitive, especially with a view to the signature of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)1. As a result, it proposes various measures to ease investment by private agricultural businesses, as well as the end of the domination of JA-Zenchu––the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives––whose operations are largely exceeding those of European or American cooperatives.

Monopolies such as the JA-Zenhu have not been restructured since WWII, and these measures will thus be the first reform in 60 years. Yet the implementation of this liberalization policy for Japan’s agriculture could prove to be difficult and quite unpopular, as some of its elements involve more deregulation. In a country that strongly supports its agricultural activities––Japanese agriculture is the world’s third most aided agriculture––such reversal will not be easily accepted.

Voices are already being heard to condemn a plan that will surely further weaken agricultural operations. Most of all, the TPP due to be signed this coming fall is especially discredited by some Japanese farmers. Singled out for its lack of transparency, the agreement is being accused of backing investors at the expense of farmers, and of undermining agricultural policies that are nevertheless necessary. Just as it is the case for other free trade agreements, the current negotiations tend to eliminate customs tariffs and other barriers to the trade of industrial and agricultural goods. But these provisions are differently valued and understood in the various partner countries.

While some agricultural liberalization may be necessary as it may be a source of innovation and productivity, implementing it in a callous manner would only strengthen future protectionist temptations and reactions. In fact, the Japanese government will be unable to avoid transition policies adapted to national features, as well as pertinent regulation mechanisms to maximize the positive impact of liberalization and mitigate its negatives consequences.

1 The most significant free trade agreement ever negotiated that currently includes 12 nations and accounts for over 40 percent of world GDP.

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Paris, 19 June 2019