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Electronic Frontier Foundation Government Japan

Why Did Japan Just Ratify The TPP? (businesstimes.com.sg) 225

The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership can't go into effect without U.S. approval, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has acknowledged. Yet despite president-elect Trump's promise to withdraw from the agreement -- Friday Japan's parliament voted to approve it. An anonymous reader quotes the Business Times. Was last Friday's vote simply a Quixotic tribute to a dying cause or -- as some are asking -- does Mr. Abe know something that others don't? They note that he is the only foreign leader to have met with the anointed heir to the U.S. presidency since the election result was announced. What went on in New York's Trump Tower during that "informal" meeting is unknown but some speculate that there may have been some equally informal -- but nonetheless significant -- dealmaking between the two men on the TPP. This seems quite possible, analysts say, because the TPP is of great importance to Japan and to Mr. Abe's grand design for Japan to remain a pivotal Asia-Pacific power.
The EFF has decried "the intense push to ram Internet issues into international law through the TPP," and complained Friday that Japan's newly-passed law "includes the extension of Japan's copyright term from 50 to 70 years after the death of the author, which makes today a very sad day for Japan's public domain."

And in addition, "There remains a risk that other TPP countries such as Singapore -- and even countries that weren't part of the original deal, such as Taiwan -- will soon also bring their domestic legislation into conformity with the requirements of this dead agreement."
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Why Did Japan Just Ratify The TPP?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 12, 2016 @12:42AM (#53466841)

    Our completely-unaccountable-to-voters State Department is still trying to get TPP to pass despite the political environment changing around them. Japan ratified because they want a good relationship with the people who will still be in charge when Trump takes office.

    • Japan ratified because they want a good relationship with the people who will still be in charge when Trump takes office.

      That's a dumb theory considering everyone and their mom believes that Trump will kill off TPP. It's practically the only thing he has said he will do that people actually believe he will do.

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        This assumes Obama doesn't sign the TPP before the end of December.

        He could sign the agreement, and convene the senate, or failing that, the agreement will automatically go into affect,
        then Trump won't be able to kill it.....

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          I don't think Trump really does want to kill it.
          He said so as a "sales pitch" to the voters and as a vector to attack Hillary, just like he attacked her for being too close to ex-Goldman Sachs people.
          Since the original point of the TPP was to put the squeeze on China (with all the bits nobody likes being sweeteners to other nations to join in), the TPP is just the sort of thing crafted for something like Trumps silly idea of a trade war with China.


          No point mentioning Obama - he was not in the loop when Ab
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Desler ( 1608317 )

        There's your problem right there. Actually believing anything that comes out of Trump's mouth. He's broken numerous campaign promises and he's not even in office yet.

        • by fnj ( 64210 )

          In your dreams, globalist shill.

        • There's your problem right there. Actually believing anything that comes out of Trump's mouth. He's broken numerous campaign promises and he's not even in office yet.

          I'm seeing more and more anti-Trumpers displaying annoyance that he appears to be adopting more moderate positions. Why? The anti-Trumps were unhappy that he wanted to deport illegal immigrants, now those very same people appear to be unhappy that he won't.

          • by imgod2u ( 812837 )

            I don't see anyone complaining about the more moderate positions. I see people shadenfreuding over people who voted Trump.

            He's turning out to be a decent Democratic President.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        That's a dumb theory considering everyone and their mom believes that Trump will kill off TPP. It's practically the only thing he has said he will do that people actually believe he will do.

        I expect that view is going to appear to be very naive some time around February. Why trust anything he's said given his track record? If we are naive enough to believe that Trump really wants a trade war with China then the TPP is the instrument that has been built over years to do that. So which Trump lie is the rea

      • That's a dumb theory considering everyone and their mom believes that Trump will kill off TPP. It's practically the only thing he has said he will do that people actually believe he will do.

        What Trump said is irrelevant. What matters is how much he likes the people who will benefit from it.

      • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @07:11AM (#53467835) Journal

        That's a dumb theory considering everyone and their mom believes that Trump will kill off TPP. It's practically the only thing he has said he will do that people actually believe he will do.

        As with the Investigatory Powers Act in the UK, there are two kinds of people in the general population when it comes to TPP: Those that are against it and those that haven't heard of it. The latter group is a lot larger. If there's something that will make the second group happy, it will more than offset doing something that will make the first group unhappy. And Trump can always smile and say 'well, you know, I was against TPP when Crooked Hillary was behind it, but we've made some changes and the new one is a lot better. A lot of the people who were moaning about it, they hadn't read it, and I hadn't read it. Now I know what it says, and now that we've removed the bits that Crooked Hillary really liked, now we can pass it and it will make America great again.'

      • Japan ratified because they want a good relationship with the people who will still be in charge when Trump takes office.

        That's a dumb theory considering everyone and their mom believes that Trump will kill off TPP. It's practically the only thing he has said he will do that people actually believe he will do.

        I think that he wasn't talking about Americans. Probably the rest of the world, or perhaps China. There are dangers of isolation ahead.

  • by thesjaakspoiler ( 4782965 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @12:51AM (#53466885)
    It has nothing to do with international affairs, it has one main national goal : taking on the Agricultural Association tht has more money and power than the government. The Japanese Agricultural Association (JA) is a very powerfull association that distorts vast amounts of money from the Japanese farmers like Italian mobsters. Money that the government wants to have but it did not have any means to take on the JA. Until the TPP came around. Nobody here in Japan knows that the TPP is also about copyrights. As far as most people know, it's about agricultural goods and meat coming freely into the country without having all kinds of associations like JA being able to control that.
    • Interesting! I didn't know why Japan had so strong regulations on food imports, but now I do.

      • Incidentally, this is also part of why the Obama administration, and others before it, wanted a trade agreement - because we want to sell more agricultural products to Japan. The copyright stuff was shoehorned in there by the **AA, and it was an unfortunate side effect, not the initial intent.
        • Yeah, sadly corruption by the big money permeates the US political system, including the establishment of both parties. And the **AA our good friends just use the system.

    • The Japanese Agricultural Association (JA) is a very powerfull association that distorts vast amounts of money from the Japanese farmers like Italian mobsters. Money that the government wants to have but it did not have any means to take on the JA.

      Of course not, because the goverment Agricultural Ministry is not in charge of Gundam [slashdot.org]. We might have finally found out who is, though.

    • by Kagetsuki ( 1620613 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @05:11AM (#53467585)

      I'm guessing you live in Japan like me, so just wanted to point out for anyone interested that this is pretty much dead on. I would like to point out that it's neglecting the immensely positive push it got from car and electronics companies. If the TPP passed as-is Japanese cars and electronics could easily take over the US market place and would likely decimate the US domestic market. Really it would have been great for Japan, which is why I personally wanted it to pass, but the honest truth is as Trump points out it was an abysmal deal for the US. Personally I hope they just renegotiate it.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        How many Japanese products are made in China and just branded. Really the only reason they signed off is pure empty politics. No country with an even slightly honest government will sign off sovereignty to a secret corporate court. So with the US out, Japan can try to dominate weak partners because Australia and New Zealand are out. There is already agreement the deal will not be renegotiated so the Japanese government is just attempting to keep the existing one alive. It is pretty obvious is being a sock

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 12, 2016 @08:35AM (#53468035)

        but the honest truth is as Trump points out it was an abysmal deal for the US

        The negative impact on the US auto industry really misses the point, protectionism is almost always to the detriment of the country as a whole. Under the deal the Japanese agricultural industry suffers, but all Japanese people get cheaper food. It's a net benefit to Japan, even though it has a negative impact on that specific industry. At the same time the US agricultural industry gains from this.

        Likewise: under the deal the US auto industry suffers, but all Americans get cheaper cars. Since almost all Americans drive, it's a net benefit to the US. And, at the same time, the Japanese auto industry gains from this. Exactly the same situation as above.

        Third thing: the copyright stuff is being handled in the opposite way - favor the industry over the whole population. This is why people protest it, but it's easy to see why the politicians do it this way. The loss to industry is easy to quantify, even if they do give ridiculously inflated numbers, but the monetary benefit of shorter copyright terms is very hard to measure. You're trying to estimate the value of all of the works which could exist but don't, thanks to copyright. So politicians favor the safer option, ignoring all of the non-monetary value of the potential works that they're stifling, and go with copyright protectionism.

  • Taiwan? (Score:5, Funny)

    by srw ( 38421 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @12:55AM (#53466891) Homepage
    Did you just call Taiwan a country? China's gonna be pissed!
    • Re:Taiwan? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Bite The Pillow ( 3087109 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @01:28AM (#53467009)

      No.

      Betteridge's Law is clear, the answer is no. No one called Taiwan a country, and Japan ratified the TPP because no. It's a law, like gravity, so it is clear. No.

    • Not a fan of the Trumperor at all, but as far as I'm concerned he can talk to whoever he likes. China can go pound sand.

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @01:10AM (#53466955)
    On November 18 Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, visited the USA and spoke to Trump.
    Abe is now passing Japan's part of the TPP.

    Haven't you guys worked out yet that what Trump said before the election and what he is going to do are different things? He's got a very long history of promising various deals and not delivering.
    • by whodunit ( 2851793 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @02:24AM (#53467165)

      Maybe we should wait until his ASS ACTUALLY HITS THE CHAIR IN THE FUCKING OVAL OFFICE BEFORE WHINING ABOUT HIM BREAKING HIS PROMISES.

      Unless you plan to do that anyway, no matter what, in which case have the common fucking decency to at least PRETEND you're waiting to see what he does. In my day we did our oppo research by breaking into places and jimmying file cabinets open - in the dark, because flashlights would get you Watergated! Now you kids just "hack into something." Or send some DUMBASS an email that says "gib login pls" and Bob's yer uncle!

      GET OFF MY LAWN!

      • OVAL OFFICE BEFORE WHINING ABOUT HIM BREAKING HIS PROMISES

        He's already breaking some with his appointments. Why give him a free pass when cries for Hillary to be lock locked up happened any time Goldman Sachs connections were mentioned?

      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        Maybe we should wait until his ASS ACTUALLY HITS THE CHAIR IN THE FUCKING OVAL OFFICE BEFORE WHINING ABOUT HIM BREAKING HIS PROMISES.

        Why? He's already broken promises. In fact, he's pretty much admitted that some of the things he said was only to get elected. [cnn.com]

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      Hehehe...including to American banks which now have a standing policy to never invest in his companies again.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It's even simpler than that. The Japanese government has been working on getting TPP through for years. It's been a long, hard fight. To give up now would be to admit defeat, so better to just pass it, claim their victory and then (fairly) blame its failure on the change of government in the US.

    • by Boronx ( 228853 )

      What he told Abe and what he does will be two totally different things. We will find out the hard way that fucking over every foreign leader is not the same as fucking over the guy who installs your curtains. We will find out, but Trump won't since he won't be hurt personally by any of the blowback.

  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @01:12AM (#53466961) Journal

    Twelve countries are party to TPP. It only has to be ratified by six in order to become binding (on those six). As currently written, the US and Japan have to be among the six, but certainly the other 11, or some of them, could decide to put it into effect among themselves. TPP can exist without the US, if Japan is included. Heck, the US isn't party to a precursor of TPP, the Transpacific Economic Partnership Agreement.

    Also, Trump could have a heart attack tomorrow - he may never become president. After all these years of negotiations, there's no reason for Japan to just drop it, based only on something someone said during a campaign; people say all kinds of things during campaigns. The US could even ratify TPP in 2020, after Trump leaves office. (At least I don't know if any time limit offhand.)

    • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @01:34AM (#53467025) Homepage Journal
      At the very least, there is going to be a renegotiation of the trade deal if the US drops out. Trade is critical to the growth of the world economy, and if the US wants to play isolationist and not reap those benefits, other countries will bind together to do so.

      More realistically, Trump is playing another con game. While he seems to prefer to produce his clothing in Mexico(which is why a tariff is not likely to happen), the building material for his developments still overwhelming come from Asia. Even Congress when given an opportunity to establish that we use only US materials to build using US tax dollars was unwilling to impose that restriction. Furthermore, his daughter depends on Asia to produce her goods.

      So what we know is anything that streamlines trade with Asia makes Trump rich, and anything that makes it harder makes him less rich. Now, Trump may want to renegotiate the deal on specific points that do not benefit his company, so it makes sense that he would be talking about not ratifying the deal as a negotiating tactic.

      But if you want to know what will happen, look in the news about how the supply chain for US manufacturers is world wide, how any disruption with Asia would raise prices and cost jobs, and the number of Goldman Sachs former executives in his cabinet.

      • by mutantSushi ( 950662 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @01:58AM (#53467099)
        Not ratifying TPP means US will "not reap the benefits of it". OK, those being... 0.4% GDP growth by 2030 according to World Bank? That just is not grounds for "absolutely must have this agreement". And what of this "disruption" of trade with Asia? Not passing TPP does not disrupt anything. It means simply the status quo continues. TPP is the disruption to status quo relation of law and society. Yeah, Trump is an idiot and you hate him. Doesn't really have much bearing on TPP.
        • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @05:07AM (#53467575)
          TPP is not a trade deal per se - the trade barriers are already low. It's a geopolitical deal to make sure the Pacific Rim countries are not dominated by China in future. TPP does have some nice areas - it requires Pacific countries to establish minimum wage laws, pollution controls and workplace safety regulations in line with other countries.

          Unfortunately, copyright lobby is also using as a Trojan horse to smuggle in pro-copyright laws.

          And you can bet that China is not sleeping - they are promoting their One-Belt-One-Road initiative to make a China-dominated trade pact.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mutantSushi ( 950662 )
      It only has to be ratified by six countries... that comprise at least 85% of GDP of the signatories The US alone is roughly 65% of the combined GDP by my calculations, and thus necessary for TPP. That is written into the terms of the agreement, and can't be changed without creating a new agreement. Obviously there are other trade agreements out there, and other countries can join them without US.
    • Also, Trump could have a heart attack tomorrow - he may never become president. After all these years of negotiations, there's no reason for Japan to just drop it, based only on something someone said during a campaign; people say all kinds of things during campaigns. The US could even ratify TPP in 2020, after Trump leaves office. (At least I don't know if any time limit offhand.)

      I know that a lot of people like to think that Trump will only be a one term president, but the odds are huge - or "yuge" as Trump says - that he'll serve two terms. Why?
      1) Since 1900 most sitting presidents have won re-election to a 2nd term. You can roughly categorize the losers as being beaten during periods of great economic malaise. Trump and the Republicans are going to push through a lot of tax cuts that may be long term disasters but in the short term the economy should grow here.
      2) Since Ei

      • That's a good point, sitting presidents are most often re-elected. Also, presidents are normally politicians - they have years of experience in other political offices before becoming president. Presidents normally have strong support from their party leadership. Presidents are normally diplomatic, they don't say grossly inflammatory things on a weekly basis. Trump is not typical. I'd be very wary of predicting anything about Trump based on previous presidents.

        On the other hand, presidents are so arrogan

  • by quax ( 19371 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @01:32AM (#53467019)

    While he is cosing up to Russia [nymag.com], the latest insults towards China [reuters.com] indicate that the latter will be designated as the new hostile nation #1, and the TPP is all about containing and insulating China. [fortune.com]

  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by God of Lemmings ( 455435 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @01:34AM (#53467027)
    The only reason I think that Japan would have done it, is if they think that the current coup to put Hillary in power by flooding the news with propaganda about "Russian hacking" will definitely succeed, which will result in Hillary signing the TTP into law. I would rather not actually see this happen, considering how horrible the law actually is (Personally I don't like the idea of it killing the Dojinshi industry, not to mention the US jobs and jobs of whatever other modern country joins in). This was more likely a leak than a hack, considering the suspicious death of Seth Rich.
    • Let's not forget, the mole people really want that copyright extension to extend to everywhere. Their media empire parts such as Disney love to have permanent control, hell since Stan Lee and George Lucas are still alive they've got at least 70+ years on a lot of Marvel and all of Star Wars. I would of course not like to see the TPP be brought into law. Killing off Dojinshi industry will be bad for us lizard people, our base of operations is shrinking ever more to the mole people, and our last ditch effort
    • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @03:23AM (#53467307)

      The only reason I think that Japan would have done it, is if they think that the current coup to put Hillary in power by flooding the news with propaganda about "Russian hacking" will definitely succeed, which will result in Hillary signing the TTP into law. I would rather not actually see this happen, considering how horrible the law actually is (Personally I don't like the idea of it killing the Dojinshi industry, not to mention the US jobs and jobs of whatever other modern country joins in). This was more likely a leak than a hack, considering the suspicious death of Seth Rich.

      Trump supporters don't drink the kool-aid - they snort the powder.

    • Hmm, the way I remember it, Hillary was against TPP too. In fact, I don't see much difference between the two of them anymore.
  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Monday December 12, 2016 @03:56AM (#53467393) Journal

    It must be the lefties fault.

  • It's amazing the things you can accomplish when you don't have mental illness.

  • ... is not dead yet. Trump is not sworn in, there are plenty of D's and R's still supporting this legislation, and Obama would sign it if it came to his desk. It's not dead until it's actually dead in Congress for this lame duck session. And then who knows? Trump could change his mind.

    Thanks for electing us an inconsistent buffoon R's. Because you don't actually know what he's going to do.

  • Drumph has never, in his life, told the truth! I believe he is lying also about shutting down TPP. It is in the interests of his commercial partners such as Monsanto, Bayer, Big Pharma, et al. Drain the swamp? Hell, he is throwing all of us into the end of the swamp with the quick sand and alligators!

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