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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

Reject JPEPA, leaders of 66 NGOs appeal
In a letter to Philippine Senate President Manuel Villar, 66 NGO leaders from around the world joined calls from local NGOs urging the Senate not to approve what they describe as a “flawed treaty” that promotes trade of toxic wastes.
Group welcomes move to suspend Jpepa deliberations
A Filipino movement against “unfair" economic treaties on Wednesday welcomed Sen. Mar Roxas III’s move to suspend deliberations on the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa).
Jpepa will worsen food crisis - group
The food crisis hounding the Philippines today may escalate if the government embarks on a full-scale liberalization of the economy under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa), according to food security advocates.
Japan pushing JPEPA due to WTO collapse
The collapse of the World Trade Organization (WTO) talks last week are pushing Japan to become even more aggressive in seeking bilateral and regional trade deals that advance its big corporate interests.
JPEPA ’edges’ toward Senate ratification
The controversial free trade agreement between the Philippines and Japan is "edging" toward ratification with 12 senators signing a committee report recommending its approval by the Senate, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said Tuesday.
Pamalakaya to spearhead ’Jpepa free zone’ campaign
A Filipino fisherfolk alliance is set to lead an across-the-country campaign to oppose the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa), which is still pending ratification in the Senate.
Japan trade deal imperils Filipino fishers
Groups opposed to the bilateral economic agreement between Japan and the Philippines expressed fears that its ratification could lead to an inflow of secondhand Japanese ships - similar to the MV Princess of the Stars, a ferry owned by Sulpicio Lines, which sank last month at the height of Typhoon Frank (also known as Typhoon Fengshen).
What land reform? farmers group asks
Some 200,000 hectares of lands in southern Mindanao alone have been converted into banana and pineapple plantations by Del Monte and Dole corporations while millions of hectares are also threatened with the looming ratification of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).
A call for the Senate to reject the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA)
The undersigned ask the Philippine Senate to fulfill its role as check and balance to the Executive branch of government, to do right by the Filipino people and reject this infirm, lopsided, unlawful and unconstitutional treaty.
Tokyo rejects ‘detailed’ JPEPA side agreement, solon says
The Philippine Senate may have to be satisfied with a mere "general statement" of assurance that the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement will not violate existing constitutional constraints and international law commitments before it concurs with this landmark trade pact


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