Japan urges Filipino critics of JPEPA to look at the good side

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — The government here has urged groups and politicians in the Philippines that have been criticizing and opposing the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement to look at the benefits that the pact can give to both countries.

Kazuyuki Yamazaki, assistant press secretary and director of Japan International Press Division, said that it is very important to see the entire pact and see what the agreement can bring for both countries.

“I think the agreement is good for both countries, for Japan and Philippines,” Yamazaki said.

Yamazaki said that Japan has a similar agreement with other neighboring countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

“The Japan government has decided to open its entire country or opens its door on an economic basis,” Yamazaki said.

Through these agreements with other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Japan is expecting an economic boom and improvement on bilateral and diplomatic relations with other countries.

Yamazaki also assuaged fears of Filipinos that his country (Japan) will import chemical waste and toxic materials to the Philippines using the provisions of the JPEPA.

“It is not true, we will never import these harmful substances to other country particularly Philippines,” Yamazaki explained.

Yamazaki said this cannot happen because Japan has very strict environmental policies.

“Japan is environmentally strict and we have rules and regulations for that,” Yamazaki added.

The Japan Foreign Ministry earlier sent a letter to Philippines Foreign Affairs as a guarantee that it will not import its chemical waste and toxic materials or any other harmful substance to the Philippines.

Japan has opened its country for agricultural product trades, has reduced tariff, and other benefits for specific products through an agreement with various Asean countries.

Senator Gregorio Honasan earlier said that the JPEPA will only cause the Philippines billions of pesos in lost tariff and trade due to some provisions that give discount or reduced tariff on many Japanese products.