Health Care, Your Call, Why TPP Should Matter


Here in Japan, we have a terrific public health care system, that covers everyone. It even covers dental care. No wonder people are concerned here that the TPP, and the current US government shutdown over "Obamacare" may have implications.

The TPP negotiators seem to not like anything supported by tax payers.

Do sign the petition:

http://www.japanfocus.org/-Sachie-MIZOHATA/3996

In conclusion, we have reviewed this extraordinary agreement, which would ruinously reverse and rewrite the history of humanity with its repeated struggles for democracy, freedoms, human rights, and welfare.  As noted, “the secrecy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership process represents a huge assault on the principles and practice of democratic governance.”33  In translating the AUF’s “youbousho” as “petition,” I thought of another word: list of grievances.  One such formal set of letters was “Cahiers de DolĂ©ances” written in 1789, the year the French Revolution started.  Similarly, I thought of letters written by our ancestors on the eve of peasant uprisings in feudal Japan.  The AUF petition evokes such indignation of citizens as it brings the TPP under public scrutiny.
Recommended Citation: Sachie Mizohata, "The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Its Critics: An introduction and a petition," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 36, No. 3
- See more at: http://www.japanfocus.org/-Sachie-MIZOHATA/3996#sthash.qA4F1kCA.dpuf

Aflac is a US insurance company with a stupid duck as its main PR tool.

Aflac and the weird duck has somehow gotten a special deal with Japan Post. Noone else but Aflac can offer cancer insurance in Japan, using Japan Post? How did that happen?

Glad to see activists in the US are protesting (September 23, 2013)!



Above is a video of activists working in the coalition FlushTheTPP.org dropping multiple banners from the US Trade Representatives Building in Washington, DC to protest the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).  The groups sought to expose the secret negotiations that have been ongoing throughout the five years of the Obama administration and mobilize people concerned about workers, the environment, banking, food, water, Internet freedom and other issues to take action to oppose the TPP.  The TPP will give large transnational corporations absolute power over our lives and make them more powerful than governments.
 
This is a video of activists working in the coalition FlushTheTPP.org dropping multiple banners from the US Trade Representatives Building in Washington, DC to protest the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The groups sought to expose the secret negotiations that have been ongoing throughout the five years of the Obama administration and mobilize people concerned about workers, the environment, banking, food, water, Internet freedom and other issues to take action to oppose the TPP. The TPP will give large transnational corporations absolute power over our lives and make them more powerful than governments.

If the TPP becomes law the US government will have negotiated away the sovereignty of US communities to deal with food, water, health, the environment and other issues. It will have put in place an economy rigged for the wealthiest that will cost the US jobs and drive down wages. Experience with agreements like NAFTA have taught us that these agreements are not good for the economy, increase US trade debt, hurt workers in the US and foreign countries and only help the wealthiest. A study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that the US would see only a .1% increase in the economy if the TPP becomes law but 90% of workers would see their wages go down. These agreements are misnamed "free" trade for propaganda purposes as what they really are is "rigged" trade building on the corrupt crony capitalist economy that funnels money to the wealthiest transnational corporations. Foreign governments should wake up and realize the TPP will put them at the mercy of US trans national corporations.

The first battle is stopping Fast Track which undermines the US Constitution which under the Commerce Clause gives Congress responsibility to negotiate trade between nations. This should be opposed by members of Congress no matter what their political viewpoint because it is a Constitutional issue that upsets the checks and balances of government. It puts too much power in the hands of the president without sufficient involvement of the Congress. Call your member of Congress and Senators today and urge them to oppose Fast Track authority for the president: 202-224-3121.

Groups participating in this protest included Flush The TPP, Popular Resistance, Backbone Campaign, Earth First!, CODE PINK and Veterans for Peace.

Sometimes, one has to wonder, how rude, how insensitive, how unjust these companies can be, while pretending to care for people - with Gilbert Gottfried fired for his terrible comments post March 11, 2011:

Salon: This Could Be You, Monster

FILE - In this June 14, 2010 file photo, Gilbert Gottfried arrives with the Aflac duck to the 14th Annual Webby Awards in New York.

Aflac on Monday, March 14, 2011 announced that it has severed ties with Gottfried over jokes about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that the comedian posted on Twitter. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes, File)(Credit: Charles Sykes)
 
Aflac is opening the field to people who want to take a quack at doing the new voice of the insurer’s ever-abrasive duck mascot. Aflac Inc. will begin accepting submissions on Wednesday in the search for someone to replace Gilbert Gottfried, who was ousted last week after voicing the duck for more than 10 years because he made insensitive remarks on Twitter about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.


The Asahi has more, note how this somehow took place in the very hot summer of 2013:

INSIGHT: Japan Post ties up with Aflac on cancer insurance after U.S. pressure


July 27, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Japan Post Holdings Co. and American Family Life Assurance Co. of Columbus (Aflac) announced July 26 they are teaming up to sell cancer insurance policies. Japan Post Holdings, which is government owned, operates the nationwide network of post offices and is the nation's largest holder of bank deposits. It plans to sell Aflac policies in as many as 20,000 of its post offices and in the 79 offices of its insurance unit, Japan Post Insurance Co.

The announcement came only three days after Japan made its debut at the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks and is largely seen as a concession by Tokyo to Washington.
The United States has complained for years about Japan Post's entry into the cancer insurance market. Given that Japan Post is wholly owned by the government, the United States, as well as the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, argued that Japan Post Insurance would have an unfair advantage over its private-sector competitors, denying a level playing field.

"Closer relations with Aflac, the leading player in the cancer insurance sector, are expected to boost our corporate value," Japan Post President Taizo Nishimuro told a news conference, which was also attended by Aflac Japan Chairman Charles Lake. Lake, who also serves as president emeritus of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, was a long-time "opponent" of Japan Post's bid to enter the insurance market.

The issue came up during the preliminary talks between Tokyo and Washington on Japan's entry in the TPP negotiations. After those discussions, Finance Minister Taro Aso announced in April he would not give the green light if Japan Post Insurance applied to sell new insurance instruments.

In the meantime, Aflac made its own overtures. This past spring, the U.S. company approached Japan Post about forming an alliance, sources said. Japan Post's president and other executives appointed in June in a management shakeup initiated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's office, concluded that a tie-up with Aflac, a main rival, was the best way to prevent the issue from acting as a major snag to the TPP talks.

Abe's office was kept in the loop about the alliance talks and was notified last week that the tie-up announcement would be made July 26.

That was not the case with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, which oversees Japan Post. It was kept in the dark, and ministry officials were left to confirm news reports on July 25 that the two companies were planning to form an alliance.

"We needed no help from the communications ministry," one senior Japan Post official said.
Tokyo and Washington will most likely hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the forthcoming multilateral TPP negotiations.

"We have been saved from having to hear complaints about the insurance sector," said one Japanese official involved in the talks.

Not everyone agrees to acquiescing to U.S. demands so easily. "They will only come up with new demands if we concede first," one high-ranking official in the communications ministry said. "We've kind of given them a free bonus. And Japan has gained nothing." Japanese life insurance companies dominate the nation in writing life insurance policies, but their foreign rivals control market share in the "third" insurance sector, which includes medical insurance and cancer insurance. Aflac alone has a 70-percent market share in the supplemental cancer insurance market, which covers extra medical costs.
In the past, major Japanese life insurance companies were barred from the "third" insurance sector, which gave foreign players an advantage and access to large cash reserves. Although the regulations were lifted in 2001, the foreign players still retain their competitive edge.

"We are lagging far behind, both in our capabilities to develop new instruments and to promote sales," said one senior official of a leading Japanese underwriter of life insurance.
Japanese insurers, which are seeking new revenue streams, see the "third" sector as a logical expansion choice given the writing of new life insurance policies is leveling off due to falling birthrates and the aging of the overall population.

But the latest deal, which will allow Aflac to sell its cancer insurance policies in Japan Post's network of post offices, could further widen the advantage gap enjoyed by foreign players in the sector. A representative of Nippon Life Insurance Co., an industry leader that in 2008 concluded an alliance with Japan Post Insurance, including the joint development of cancer insurance instruments, expressed "disappointment" over the latest developments. One well-placed source close to Nippon Life has even indicated there may be a possible review of the alliance agreement. "There will be no further joint development of cancer insurance instruments," the source said.

(This article was compiled from reports by Manabu Nagashima, Tomoya Fujita and Kenichiro Shino.)

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hi Kurashi,

"Aflac and the weird duck has somehow gotten a special deal with Japan Post. Noone else but Aflac can offer cancer insurance in Japan, using Japan Post? How did that happen?"

Obviously there is connection. JT and JP have similar roots, and JT and R.J.R. (second-largest tobacco company in the U.S.) are one, and R.J.R. and other big tobacco do fund/work with health insurance agencies. The whole thing is tightly knit.

Anyway, on cancer policies I learned that in the States Aflac was found out to only be paying back half the premiums they said they were paying. Imagine how much they get away with here in Japan !? Thanks to JT, and now JP.

TPP is also largely about drugs, and I've always thought the food stuff in the news has been a distraction to this. Japan is aging, dying of man made diseases, and Western big pharma want in!

ken
adams guild™, Japan
Martin J Frid said…
Thanks for the comment Ken, I didn't know about the links between cancer insurance and the tobacco mafia. I'll have to look that up.

And yes, TPP is largely about Big Pharma wanting to get even bigger.
Anonymous said…
Hi Kurashi, sure.

"I didn't know about the links between cancer insurance and the tobacco mafia. I'll have to look that up."

As conspiracy theory as it sounds, it's really just a case of old money and old market (tobacco empire) re-investing in emerging market (cancer fallout). And who better to know what the acute fallout would be, than BIG tobacco?

The point being that it's all directly related to each other.

ken
adams guild™, Japan

Popular posts from this blog

TPP Documents Leaked, Huffington Post, Activists Huff

World Social Forum Arakawa, Tokyo