Discourse on food safety and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Perspectives from Japan
Cornelia Reiher – 2017
On 5 October 2015 the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was finally reached in Atlanta. Although TPP negotiations began in 2008, it was not until July 2013 that Japan joined in, against the backdrop of major protests. TPP opponents included agricultural cooperatives, consumer cooperatives, labour unions, consumer groups, women’s networks, and opposition parties. The first wave of protests from 2011 against Japan’s actual entrance into the negotiations in July 2013 focused strongly on food safety, food security, agricultural tariffs, and farmers’ livelihoods. However, by October 2015 the focus of public discourse on the TPP had almost shifted away from food safety issues. This chapter analyses the arguments brought forth by TPP opponents and in newspapers who claimed that the TPP would harm the safety of food products sold in Japan. In order to find out how food safety and agricultural trade liberalization are linked in the discourse on the TPP, I will compare the discourse from 2011 to 2013. Furthermore, I will discuss stakeholders’ arguments against the backdrop of the actual content of the TPP’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) chapter that was released in early November 2015.