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The governments of Japan and the Philippines reached a basic political agreement on the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) on 29 November 2004 at the ASEAN Summit in Laos. The agreement was then signed in Helsinki on 9 September 2006 and came into force on 11 December 2008. It was the Philippines’ first free trade agreement and Japan’s fourth.

JPEPA was and remains hugely controversial. Filipinos — and on some issues, Japanese groups — mobilised to stop the deal for many reasons, including the following:

 the small job market openings for Filipino healthcare workers are very limited (the workers must learn Japanese, undergo equivalency exams, stay for only a restricted time etc) and overlook the real potential for abuse of Filipino workers in Japan;
 concerns that Japan will gain access to and be able to overfish Philippine waters, ruining the livelihoods of small fisherfolk;
 any supposed benefits for increased pineapple and banana exports to Japan would in fact go to corporations like Dole and Del Monte, and their local business partners, who own and run the plantations in the Philippines — not to small or landless Filipino farmers;
 its unconstitutionality, since JPEPA allows Japanese corporations to own land, operate schools and practice certain professions in the Philippines which the Philippine Constitution does not allow;
 the huge imbalances in the deal, e.g. Japan excluded almost 200 tariff lines from the agreement, the Philippines only six; and
 the fact that JPEPA gives explicit legal ground for Japan to dump toxic wastes in the Philippines.

last update: May 2012
Photo: Karasantos / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Gov’t eyes April okay for JPEPA
Philippine Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila wants the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement ratified by the Senate before the end of April.
NGO hits Roxas, Santiago for endorsing JPEPA
A Mindanao-based coalition of non-government organizations has criticized senators Manuel Roxas II and Miriam Defensor-Santiago for recommending the ratification of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).
Speak out: Trade deals
We should use what we learned from the ZTE deal to analyze JPEPA. We should demand accountability and transparency in all the deals and contracts that our government enters into.
Exploitation of RP nurses in New Zealand justifies Jpepa rejection
The reported exploitation of Filipino nurses in New Zealand gives a reason for the Senate to reject the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement, according to the Philippine Nurses Association.
IBON to senators: Heed bad Asian experiences in Japan trade deals
As the Senate prepares to vote on the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), a militant think tank urged senators to heed the bad experiences of Asian countries with Japan trade deals.
Japanese cyclists join local protest vs JPEPA
At least 10 Japanese cyclists will participate in a "Peace Cycle" in Metro Manila that started Tuesday, joining local militant groups in opposing the ratification of the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).
Japanese pastors learn shocking things about Davao bananas
Japanese pastors joined the calls echoed by the National Churches of the Philippines to reject the controversial Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA)
Proposed ‘conditional concurrence’ on JPEPA hit
The proposal for a “conditional concurrence” of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) only means that as it stands, the treaty violates the Philippines Constitution, a coalition against the agreement said Friday.
Greenpeace: Ratifying JPEPA would be ‘criminal’
Greenpeace says Japan is pursuing trade agreements with Southeast Asian nations “to reopen the region to toxic waste trafficking” citing an August 2006 contract between the Japanese government and Shinko Research Co. Ltd. “to assess the use of bilateral agreements ’for bidirectional movement of toxic wastes between Japan and Asian countries.’”
Militants hit Roxas statement on JPEPA
Anti-JPEPA groups criticized Philippine Senator Mar Roxas’ statement that he will advocate ratification of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement as tantamount to "conditioning the public’s mind that the controversial JPEPA will be ratified by the Senate very soon."


  • Magkaisa Junk JPEPA
    Multisectoral effort to defeat an unfair and environmentally unjust bilateral trade agreement with Japan