Regarding the July 26 editorial “TPP-ready fishing industry?“: If Japan participates in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, many agricultural foods will come from America, New Zealand, Asia and elsewhere. Japanese farmers are concerned that they can’t win in low-price competition and that demand for domestic-grown produce may decline. At worst, Japanese farmers might give up growing rice and vegetables, and some Japanese-grown foods might disappear from dinner tables.
It is not just about food safety; Japanese food culture will be threatened by the TPP. We already have enough to worry about. For example, genetically modified (GM) crops, which involve recombinant gene technology, have been developed to resist pests and to increase yields. But do you want to eat tofu and bread from GM soybeans and wheat. My answer is no!
If possible, I would like to eat food grown without the use of agricultural chemicals. Some people who are concerned about food safety now prefer to buy brown rice and seasonal organic vegetables directly from farmers or over the Internet. Me too! Going the natural route is one way I can support local farmers.
When Japan made a free trade agreement with the United States, oranges, cherries and rice were imported from the U.S. There was worry about declining demand for domestic fruit, but Japanese farmers worked hard to upgrade their produce quality and ended up developing new types of fruit that were also more delicious.
This time I believe that they can eliminate the risks from the TPP, and Japanese food culture will develop more than ever before. We Japanese have to make a wise choice for ourselves and the next generation. Japanese producers and consumers must make a collective effort to protect Japanese food and culture.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.