The Mainichi has a great piece about Japanese farmer and poet Kanji Hoshi, 76, who has been engaged in organic farming for 38 years in the Yamagata Prefecture town of Takahata. Kanji-san is opposed to Japan's TPP participation:
Hoshi is the author of an essay called "Sonno joi no shiso: han TPP no chiiki ron" (The philosophy of revere agriculture, expel the barbarians: anti-TPP localism), published in May 2011 in the book, "Takahata-gaku" (Takahataology). In it, he writes: "I would like the philosophy of revering agriculture and expelling the barbarians to be the stronghold against the black ships of TPP," Hoshi writes. "We need to give primary importance to agriculture for its production of food for life, and to justly appreciate its function of protecting the environment. If we destroy our beautiful homeland, we will not be able to face our descendents. 'Expel the barbarians' refers to the elimination of our disposable consumer civilization. We need to possess a set of values necessary to live simply and spiritually rich in a mature society, and let us attempt self realization."
In this essay, Hoshi categorically states that TPP participation will devastate Japanese agriculture. Our dinner tables will be filled with imported products whose manufacturers and processors we don't know, sacrificing food safety, and rural landscapes will be destroyed, Hoshi says, and warns that local communities themselves will collapse.
The Mainichi: Fighting TPP with 'reverence' for farming and 'expulsion' of consumer culture
If the TPP negotiations lead to a situation where Japan is forced to accept zero tarrifs for main agricultural products like rice and wheat, a lot of farming in Japan will simply become impossible. I have never heard of a country that agrees to such policy. It has been noted that reducing the nation's already-low food self-sufficiency rate would leave Japan hostage to potential diplomatic conflicts. The Japan Times is quoting Japan's agriculture ministry, that "last year calculated that Japan's food self-sufficiency rate — at 40 percent on a calorie basis — would fall to 13 percent under the TPP."
The Japan Times: TPP bandwagons play tunes not all find pleasing to the ear
(Photo of Kanji Hoshi from a 2008 article over at Nikkei BP)
Website of Inochi Tagayasu Hitobito, a 2006 documentary about organic agriculture in Kanji-san's hometown, Takahata, in Yamagata prefecture: いのち耕す人々 (The people who cultivite life).