Suddenly, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which the United States has been pushing for some time now, has become a very hot topic (“Noda puts TPP back on radar“, Oct. 12).
The fear of being left out in the cold if Japan does not at least join in the discussions is understandable, but is it wise to rush a decision only to suit the U.S.’ time schedule? Frankly, the Japanese public is yet largely uncertain of what participating in the TPP really would mean for Japan. This goes for most “experts” as well. Moreover, joining this pact would probably not serve Japan’s overall interests at all. The interminable belief among many politicians in the world in the absolute merit of free trade is based on a misguided faith in the predictions of certain economists who rely on complex mathematical models that are informed by their makers’ own prejudices and are far-removed from reality. These economists were unable to predict the recent bursting of the housing market bubble in the U.S., and many even argued that it would not happen. There is also much disagreement among economists about the efficacy of such abstract modeling. Those who are more deeply grounded in reality sometimes gain recognition, but for the most part it is the fancy models that win the hearts of government planners. Behind the TPP also lies the U.S.’ desire to control Pacific trade.
Noda and Edano shouldn’t embrace TPP just to make the U.S. or the LDP happy. A thorough national debate on this is needed. There is plenty of time.
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.
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