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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

Sign-on petition statement vs JPEPA
Please join this appeal to the Philippine Senate to reject the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) before 3 November 2007.
Farmers: JPEPA is anti-Filipino
In the series of consultations made by the Philippine Peasant Institute (PPI) with farmers, most of them believe that it is anti-Filipino, anti-farmer, and contrary to the Constitution.
Debate rages as Jpepa stirs up a hornet’s nest
Various groups around the Philippines have come out with guns blazing, claiming that the proposed Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement will only harm farmers in the countryside.
Philippine Senate prepares to shoot down FTA with Japan
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s campaign to persuade the Senate to ratify a landmark free-trade agreement with Japan is looking increasingly hopeless
Militant groups ask senators to scrap RP-Japan accord
The jobs of at least 77,000 as well as tens of thousands of iron and steel workers whose livelihoods depend, directly or indirectly, on the automotive industry are imperiled as the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) threatens to destroy the country’s automotive industry, said Frank Mero, national president of the Philippine Metalworkers’ Alliance and of the Automotive Industry Workers’ Alliance.
JPEPA unconstitutional, legal luminaries say
Legal luminaries insist on the unconstitutionality of the proposed Japan Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), presently under scrutiny by the Philippine Senate
JPEPA makes working in Japan tougher for health workers
Filipino health workers hoping to work in Japan or migrate to that country may find it more difficult if the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) is approved, said a national organization of health professionals.
Roxas on JPEPA: No deal better than bad deal
Philippines Sen. Mar Roxas said senators remain unconvinced on ratifying the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) even as the executive branch had created an inter-agency task force to explain the benefits of the bilateral economic agreement.
Anti-JPEPA advocates ask RP to renegotiate treaty
The multisectoral Fair Trade Alliance calls for a renegotiation of JPEPA
Philippine Senators ’could reject’ Japan free trade deal
Philippine lawmakers are unlikely to ratify a free trade agreement with Japan in the deal’s present form, the president of the Southeast Asian nation’s Senate said Tuesday.


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