Japan has been a hotbed of protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would establish a free-trade zone stretching from Japan to the United States to Chile, and encompass nearly 40 percent of the global economy. Now, new documents released by WikiLeaks show the White House may be ready to backtrack on a series of critical regulations in order to secure a deal on the trade pact, including legally binding requirements for pollution limits, logging standards, and a ban on the harvesting of shark fins. The draft version of the “environmental chapter” also reveals that the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations that are party to the TPP would rely on trade sanctions instead of fines if a country violates its obligations. The Sierra Club responded to the latest news saying that if the draft report were to be finalized, “President Obama’s environmental trade record would be worse than George W. Bush’s.” Meanwhile hearings begin today in Congress on legislation to establish fast-track authority that would allow Obama to sign the TPP before Congress votes on it. Broadcasting from Tokyo, we’re joined by Nobuhiko Suto, a former member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in Japan’s House of Representatives, where he was among the first legislators to point out the dangers of the TPP. He is the Secretary-General of the group, Citizen’s Congress for Opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We’re also joined on the phone by Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch based in Washington, D.C.
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