Government’s TPP task force promises to protect sugarcane on Minami Daito

Government’s TPP task force promises to protect sugarcane on Minami Daito

On April 22, at the Minami Daito Municipal Office, members of the Liberal-Democratic Party and the government’s TPP Task Force Headquarters visited the island to inspect the village’s sugar industry.

April 23, 2013 Yoko Ikeda, correspondent of Ryukyu Shimpo

On April 22, ten people including staff of the headquarters of the government’s Trans-Pacific Partnership Free-Trade Agreement (TPP) Task Force and Diet members of the Liberal-Democratic Party visited the Minami Daito Municipal Office to exchange opinions with Mayor Kensho Nakada. The village has developed on sugar production as its main industry since 1900. Mayor Nakada voiced his feelings of unease, saying, “If participation in the TPP negotiations does not bring any result in terms of creating exceptions for tariff elimination, the island will not survive.” House of Representatives member Mitsuhiro Miyakoshi replied, “We are not going to abandon sugarcane. We will protect Okinawa’s sugarcane at any cost.

Before exchanging opinions, municipal office staff presented a slideshow explaining the sugar production process from sugarcanes and asked for understanding towards protection of sweetening resources.

Mayor Nakada said, “Entry into the TPP negotiations, will bring change to regional systems and situations. People are all concerned about the future of this island.” House of Representatives member and head of the Liberal-Democratic Party TPP Task Force Committee Koya Nishikawa said, “Hearing people’s opinions, we have confirmed our stance that we will protect agriculture together. We will do our best with the same resolve that you show.”

(English translation by T&CT, Megumi Chibana and Mark Ealey)

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