Back in March, we reported on a campaign in Japan seeking to raise awareness about the extreme copyright provisions in TPP. Of course, making copyright even more unbalanced is just one of many problems with TPP, and arguably not even the worst. Now activists in the country have launched a much broader attack on the whole agreement by filing a lawsuit against the Japanese government in an attempt to halt its involvement in the talks. As Mainichi reports:
A total of 1,063 plaintiffs, including eight lawmakers, claimed in the case brought to the Tokyo District Court that the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact would undermine their basic human rights such as the right to live and know that are guaranteed under the Constitution.
The envisaged pact would not only benefit big corporations but jeopardize the country’s food safety and medical systems and destroy the domestic farm sector, according to their written complaint.
As well as oft-voiced concerns that Japan’s key agricultural sector would be harmed, the plaintiffs are also worried that TPP will push up drug prices — something that is a big issue for other nations participating in the negotiations. The new group rightly points out that corporate sovereignty jeopardizes the independence of Japan’s judicial system, and said that the secrecy surrounding the talks:
violates the people’s right to know as the document is confidential and the negotiating process will be kept undisclosed for four years after the agreement takes effect.
Although it is hard to judge how much of a threat this move represents to Japan’s continuing participation in TPP, the legal firepower behind it is certainly impressive: according to the Mainichi story, there are 157 people on the legal team. At the very least, it shows that resistance to TPP and its one-sided proposals is growing — and not just in the US. But you can’t help thinking it would have been a good idea for concerned Japanese citizens to have made this move earlier, rather than leaving it to the eleventh hour, with TPP close to the finishing line.