In recent months, Japan has been debating the merits of joining trade negotiations that may lead to the realization of the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The TPP is promoted as a free trade pact currently being negotiated among the United States, Mexico, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Chile, Singapore, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party is divided, but Abe seems in favor of joining the negotiations.

If the TPP is concluded, one outcome is likely to be the end of government protection for the agricultural sector.