Free Trade Agreements Kill People!
We, representatives of peasants, workers, consumers, urban and rural poor, social movements and civil society organizations are gathering in Chiba and Tokyo, Japan from 12 to 15 October 2011. La Via Campesina South East and East Asia region with FTA Watch (Thailand), Shokkenren (Japan) and Task Force against Korea-US FTA (Republic of Korea) organize a strategic meeting to discuss Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This is to express our alarm on the implementation and pursuing of the agreements across Asia. Currently there are dozens of FTAs between countries and/or regions and they have been threatening peoples’ livelihood in the region.
At present, the world is still experiencing food, energy, financial and environmental crises. Corporations and capitals who cause these crises are trying to fill their already-full pocket by pushing FTAs and TPP. Only 1 percent of the world’s population are practicing and reaping benefits from free trade. This attempt will exacerbate the current crises and sacrifice the people, especially the poor.
Japan: “We will continue farming on Japanese soil!”
NOUMINREN Youth held its 20th conference in Tokyo on February 11thand 12th this year. Approximately 100 people participated in the conference (the largest ever). For NOUMINREN, this conference was probably its most important in last 20 years as it was the first conference after 3.11 earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear plant accidents. All participants were eager to share and reflect on what they underwent after 3.11 and to use these understandings to overcome their concerns.
On the first day, a forum was held to discuss the issue Why we must continue farming on Japanese soil: Understanding how nuclear power plants and the Trans-Pacific Partnership will destroy us. In this forum, five panelists (three farmers, one food researcher, and one local community activist) presented their commitment to protect agriculture and food sovereignty of Japan.