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Japan's ex-Farm Minister may seek to have pro-TPP Noda replaced

(Xinhua)

22:12, November 28, 2011

TOKYO, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Former Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Masahiko Yamada said on Monday he wants to put forward a candidate to run against Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in the Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ) presidential race next September.

According to the Kyodo News Agency, Yamada said that if Noda, who also doubles as the DPJ's president, continues to steer Japan towards joining the U.S.-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks, he will seek to have him replaced.

"If he keeps insisting on the participation, we have to have him replaced," Yamada was quoted by Kyodo as saying on a TV program.

Yamada is opposed to Japan joining the TPP talks and along with a host of other politicians, some from within Noda's own party, as well as agricultural lobbies, have petitioned Noda to put Japan's national interests first and not join the free trade talks.

Those opposed to Japan joining the TPP fear that the elimination on tariffs on all imports will mean a massive sustained influx of cheaper agricultural imports to Japan, compromising a delicate and centuries-old industry that is currently protected by tariffs in excess of 700 percent.

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