“Japanese Agriculture and Capital Expansion: The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Global Food Value Chain Strategy” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2020.1788120) is a new article for JCA by independent scholar Akiko Horita, based in Auckland, New Zealand.
This article explores the intersection of two nationwide policy discussions in Japan: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Global Food Value Chain (GFVC) strategy. The former has indicated a radical reform and liberalisation of Japanese agriculture and the latter promotes Japanese agriculture “on the offensive” and its overseas expansion. The TPP generated public concerns about external market forces coming into Japanese society and the GFVC is essentially about Japanese capital and agriculture reaching out to overseas markets. While Japan’s participation in the TPP became a controversial topic in the country, the GFVC strategy has relatively quietly rooted itself in the policy and public spheres. Current national policies describe challenges in Japanese capitalist society as agricultural problems and reframe the risks and costs of the free market on the population as a greater opportunity (or solution) for Japanese agriculture. Such logics have significant risks of accelerating problems inherent in Japan’s existing mode of production especially concerning the subordination of labour power to capital.