Liberal Democratic Party policy chief Sanae Takaichi said that the party will support new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe if ever he decides that Japan will participate in the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership, but on the condition that they can withdraw if some concessions will not be met.
The controversial trade agreement will require all members to drop their tariffs, a move that might lead to an influx of cheaper produce imports. This threatens the security of the country’s well-protected farm industry, which has traditionally been behind the LDP. Takaichi’s statement will surely be criticized by some members of the party, especially since during its campaign, the LDP has said that they will oppose any participation in the free trade agreement if they are forced to accept the unconditional tariff eliminations.
Takaichi however said that LDP‘s Policy Research Council will present a list of conditions for joining the TPP and if the group will not accept these conditions, then they will urge the government to withdraw from the negotiations. Economic and fiscal policy minister Akira Amari also hinted on a conditional support for the TPP participation because he believes that a partnership between Japan and the United States is crucial for “achieving development and stability in Asia”. He however wants to test and examine how “flexible the United States can be toward Japan.” Seiko Noda, the head of the LDP’s decision-making General Council, assured people that the LDP will abide by its campaign promises.