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Diet debate on U.S. trade deal fails to clarify benefits, risks

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The Lower House plenary session is set to pass a bill on Nov. 19 to approve a new trade agreement the government has negotiated with the United States.

During the chamber’s debate on the bill, the government repeatedly touted the trade pact, asserting that it is a “win-win and well-balanced agreement for both Japan and the United States.”

It refused almost all opposition requests for the submission of related documents to the Diet. When opposition parties walked out of a session in protest, the ruling camp let the clock keep ticking and the time allocated for opposition questions run out.

The ruling camp’s insincere actions have left many important questions about the trade accord unanswered.

During the upcoming Upper House deliberations, the government needs to offer a convincing explanation about why the agreement can qualify as a “win-win” deal.

There are two key questions that need to be answered. One is whether the Trump administration has promised to eliminate U.S. tariffs on Japanese........

© The Asahi Shimbun