Eamonn Fingleton thinks any Japanese TPP commitments will be seen as optional, based upon past performance.
[by Eamonn Fingleton | April 26, 2015| Forbes]
In reality, of course, the TPP deserves to be assessed on its own merits, not on how effectively Abe assuages resentments about Japan’s imperial past. The reality is that the TPP promises to perpetuate an unbalanced U.S.-Japan trade relationship. All the evidence of the last forty years is that Japan treats its market opening commitments as “optional.” Perhaps the most obvious illustration is the rice market: in the mid 1990s Japan undertook to open its market to American-grown rice (not least japonica, the variety favored by Japanese consumers and one in which American farmers are highly efficient). The New York Times gave the opening big-news treatment. It gave less attention to the result: no change. With the exception of a few stores favored by Western families, American rice is pretty much non-existent in Japan.
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