Japan May Pass New Law To Force Retailers To Sell Fukushima Produce

#Radioactive Japan under LDP: Law May Be Passed to Force Retailers to Carry Fukushima Produce (EX-SKF, Jan 3, 2013):

Speaking of population decrease, Japan has a ministerial post to deal with declining number of children in Japan. The new minister under the Abe pork-cutlet-curry administration is Ms. Masako Mori, who is also the minister in charge of consumer affairs.

In another WTF moment, Ms. Mori declares the new national government under LDP is considering passing the legislation to force retailers to sell Fukushima produce. It’s not very clear from the article below by Fukushima Minpo whether this legislation is intended for retailers only in Fukushima, or any retailers anywhere. (The more I read it, it feels the legislation will be for the retailers everywhere in Japan, but not 100% sure.)

Fukushima Minpo also makes it obvious that Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency (whose head is the same Ms. Mori) is for helping producers, not consumers.

No wonder her party wants to ditch the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of commerce.

According to Japanese wiki, Ms. Mori was one of those “backbenchers” who heckled the DPJ politicians with vulgar words.

From Fukushima Minpo (1/3/2013):

県産品の販売促進へ法制化検討 森少子化相、扱い店舗優遇へ

Minister Mori says the government will consider legislation to promote produce and goods made in Fukushima, giving preferential treatment to retailers who sell Fukushima produce/goods.

森雅子少子化担当相(参院本県選挙区)は2日までに福島民報社の新春インタビューに答え、東京電力福島第一原発事故による風評被害を払拭(ふっしょく)す るため、県産品の販売促進を目的とした法律の制定を検討する考えを示した。小売店に対し、安全が確認された農産物や工業品の販売を促す内容で、店頭に県産 品を陳列した店舗の優遇などを想定している。森氏は平成24年度補正予算で風評被害対策の関連費用を拡充させ、課題解決に向けた取り組みを加速させること も強調した。

Masako Mori, minister in charge of dealing with declining number of children (elected to the Upper House from District in Fukushima Prefecture), in a New Year interview with Fukushima Minpo, indicated that she is considering legislation to promote the sales of produce and goods made in Fukushima in order to eradicate baseless rumors resulting from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident. The legislation will prompt retailers to sell agricultural produce and manufactured products that are confirmed to be safe. It will include preferential treatment of retailers who display Fukushima produce and goods in their storefronts. Ms. Mori also emphasized the government’s commitment to expand the budget for countering the damages from baseless rumors in the fiscal 2012 supplementary budget and to accelerate the measures to resolve problems.

風評被害対策に当たる消費者庁も担当する森氏は「県産品を店頭に並べて、買いたい人が購入できる環境を整備しないと対策は前進しない」と述べ、小売店対策を本格化させる意向を示した。

Ms. Mori, also in charge of Consumer Affairs Agency which deals with countermeasures against baseless rumors, said, “Fukushima produce should be displayed in storefronts, and consumers who want to buy them should be able to buy them. Otherwise, the countermeasures [against baseless rumors] will not be effective”, indicating she wants to work full-scale on the retailers.

風評被害に対する国の姿勢を明確に示すため、県産品の販売促進については法制化を目指す。今後、庁内や関係省庁と検討作業に入るとみられる。法案の概要に ついては「本県を特区に指定し、国は小売店に対して、その地域の産品を扱うように命令したり、店頭で販売した店舗を優遇することができるようにする」と説 明した。

[Mori said] the government will aim to pass the legislation to promote the sale of Fukushima produce and goods, in order to clearly show [to the public] how the national government stands on the issue of baseless rumor damages. It is considered that Mr. Mori’s agency [Consumer Affairs Agency] and related agencies and ministries will decide on the details [of the legislation]. In summary, the legislation would “designate Fukushima Prefecture as the “special zone”, and enable the national government to order retailers to sell locally-produced goods and to extend preferential treatment to retailers who sell such goods in the storefronts”, Ms. Mori explained.

憲法で「営業の自由」が認められている小売店に対する命令に、どの程度強制力を持たせられるかが今後の焦点の一つになりそうだ。

The Constitution guarantees “freedom of commerce”. It remains to be seen whether the legislation can legally force retailers.

森氏は平成24年度補正予算で風評被害対策の関連費用拡充を求めることも明らかにした。啓発イベントを継続するとともに県産品への信頼を回復させるため生産者と消費者の対面販売などに力を入れる。消費地に向かう生産者の交通費負担など、きめ細かな支援策の必要性も認めた。

Ms. Mori also disclosed that she would ask for more money for countermeasures against baseless rumor damages in the fiscal 2012 [ending in March 2013] supplementary budget. Educational events would continue, and there would be more emphasis on face-to-face sales between producers and consumers to re-establish the trust in the Fukushima produce/goods. She said she recognized the need for carefully planned support for the producers, including the government paying for transportation costs for the producers to travel to consumption areas.

少子化・子育ての問題については、子どもの甲状腺検査の充実とスピードアップに向けて国が果たすべき役割を検証し早急に方策を練ることを約束した。

As to the problem of declining number of children and support for rearing children, she promised that she will examine what role the national government should play toward making the thyroid testing of children more meaningful and expediting the testing, and that the government would then work on a plan as soon as possible.

The last convoluted bit (which may make Sir Humphrey proud) means she won’t do a thing either on the declining number of children or on the thyroid testing for children. This answer alone is enough to tell me she is a lawyer. (Sure enough, Japanese wiki says she was a classmate of Yukio “there is no immediate effect on health” Edano in Tohoku University Law School.)
About the possible unconstitutionality of Ms. Mori’s legislation, Japanese Constitution Article 22 is generally interpreted to guarantee the freedom of commerce, as the freedom to choose occupation is meaningless unless the freedom of commerce is guaranteed:

Article 22. Every person shall have freedom to choose and change his residence and to choose his occupation to the extent that it does not interfere with the public welfare.
Freedom of all persons to move to a foreign country and to divest themselves of their nationality shall be inviolate.

I can perfectly see how Abe’s LDP (which many say is not the LDP they’ve known) is going with this. They will limit the Article 22 by saying allowing this freedom of commerce interfere with the public welfare. See, how producers in Fukushima have suffered!

And the Abe government will strongly promote face-to-face sales by the Fukushima producers, knowing fully well that by nature most Japanese find it very hard to say no, face to face.

Where are Ishihara and Morita when we need them, to teach Japanese to say no? Well, Morita is long dead, and Ishiraha is playing politics with the boy-wonder. Neither of them would be likely to ever dream of saying no to their beloved government.

 

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