An unusual thing happened in mid-May involving the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry and its subordinate body, the Forestry Agency. The Cabinet failed to approve the annual white paper on forestry at that time. It has been customary for that paper to be published together with its counterparts on agriculture and fisheries around the middle of May. This year, its Cabinet approval was delayed into June.

Although Forestry Agency officials attribute the delay to "technical reasons," obviously they feared that an early publication of the white paper would have adverse effects on the Diet deliberations on the forestry management control law.

Since the law, which the government was in such a hurry to enact, will lead to facilitating the sale of such national assets as state-owned forests to the private sector, it is similar to the abolition of the Main Crop Seeds Law, which this publication has criticized as an act of selling off the country. Worse yet, for funding the new law will use revenue from the forestry environment tax, which is virtually a perpetual extension of the tax to help restore the areas devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011.