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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

Militants press Senate to reject Jpepa - report
About 150 activists trooped to the Philippine Senate on Tuesday, calling on senators to reject the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement
SC ruling on JPEPA: Shackled by ‘entropy of the old tradition of secrecy’
“WE must overcome the entropy of the old tradition of secrecy,” counseled Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno in his lengthy argument on the petition to have the government disclose details of the negotiations between the Philippines and Japan in relation to the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA). Obviously, it was an advice that went largely unheeded as majority of his colleagues upheld for a second time the Arroyo government’s invocation of executive privilege.
SC JPEPA decision turns Filipino people into beggars of information on critical national issues
The Fair Trade Alliance (FairTrade), whose affiliates are among the petitioners on the lack of government transparency in trade negotiations, denounces the cowardly decision of the Supreme Court on the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA). Said decision upholds the secrecy of executive treaty-making exercise even if such treaty puts Philippine jobs and industries at risk.
’SC ruling on JPEPA may lead to one-sided trade deals’
The No Deal! Movement, which has actively campaigned against the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement said that the Supreme Court decision to uphold secrecy of Philippine government negotiations over trade deals "will set a dangerous precedent, legitimizing the marginalization of ordinary Filipinos from having access to pertinent information on economic treaties such as JPEPA that will have a deep impact on their interest and livelihood"
SC affirms ‘executive privilege’ on JPEPA negotiations
The Philippine Supreme Court has upheld the “executive privilege” invoked by the government in refusing to accede to a request by several lawmakers, and partylist and militant groups for a full disclosure of its negotiations with Japan involving the controversial trade agreement.
Youth group slams crackdown on protesters at G8
Militant Filipino youths scored Tuesday what they called the repression against protesters at the G-8 summit in Hokkaido, Japan, and demanded the release of the arrested protesters. In a letter to Japanese ambassador Makoto Katsura dated July 8, the youths also reiterated their opposition to the Japan Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).
Japan agrees to amend trade treaty
Japan is willing to sign a side agreement with the Philippines to quiet concerns about provisions in a free-trade treaty deemed inconsistent with or violate the Philippine Constitution, an official said yesterday.
JPEPA: ’Unconstitutional’ on 15 counts yet...
The Philippines Senate’s ratification of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) is not likely to push through until, possibly, this August.
Activists brave murky Manila Bay to rail vs JPEPA
Fourteen activists, most of them fisherfolk, braved the murky waters of Manila Bay Monday morning, swimming 10 kilometers from Bacoor, Cavite to the Senate gates in Pasay City to protest the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) and what was then the proposed "conditional concurrence" of the trade pact.
Santiago defers sponsorship of JPEPA
It’s back to the negotiating table for the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) after Philippine Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Monday agreed to defer consideration of the treaty on the request of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo.


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