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Governors from five farming prefectures are asking the national government to oppose a proposal to cut tariffs on agricultural products and raise import quotas in ongoing World Trade Organization negotiations.

The five governors made the appeal Wednesday in a meeting in Tokyo to discuss agricultural issues. They adopted a statement calling on the government to protect Japan’s national interests by rejecting the proposal put forward by agricultural exporters.

Japan has called for moderate item-by-item tariff cuts with a view to excluding products such as rice and has opposed expansion of low-tariff import quotas.

The governors of Fukui, Tottori, Kagawa, Saga and Kumamoto prefectures also sent a proposal to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry calling for boosting farm exports, the officials said.

The meeting was arranged at the initiative of Tottori Gov. Yoshihiro Katayama, who asked the four other governors to join, as the five prefectures share commonalities such as farming centering on rice production and problems with agriculture in mountainous areas.

Farm trade liberalization is the most contentious issue in the current Doha Round of WTO global trade talks.

The issue is expected to be high on the agenda at a full WTO ministerial meeting in Cancun, Mexico, between Wednesday and Sept. 14.