Japan to Join Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Talks
posted on by Egan Loo
The Japanese government decided on Friday to participate in the negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a pact between several nations that could affect copyrights along with agriculture, financial services, and many other areas of the economy. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is heading to this weekend's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hawaii. There, he will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and the heads of other nations, including the eight other TPP partners (Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam).
Noda had delayed the government's decision on whether to join the talks by one day, as debate continued not only in the national legislature, but also within Noda's own Democratic Party of Japan and among regular citizens. Noda's administration argued that TPP would stimulate Japan's economy with more international trade with less tariffs and other restrictions. Much of the media coverage focused on the effects that TPP and the possible increase of imports will have on Japanese farmers, but some critics also raised concerns about copyrights and other areas.
Kensaku Fukui, a lawyer and a Nihon University professor, argued last month that the TPP could extend copyright terms and change the Copyright Law of Japan to allow unilateral enforcement by the police, as well as statutory damages. Negima and Love Hina manga creator Ken Akamatsu further argued that the changes "would destroy derivative dōjinshi" (or self-published works based on other creative works) and that "the power of the entire manga industry would also diminish." Media artist Kazuhiko Hachiya warned that even cosplay could be affected along with other derivative works.