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17 April in Japan: Campaign against the counter agrarian reform
17 April 2009
Nouminren, the member of Via Campesina in Japan had a campaign for the International Day of Peasant’s Struggle from April 15th to the 17th. The focus of the campaign was to demand a retraction of the bill of reforming Agricultural Land Act.
The intention of this bill is to destroy all the success made by current Agricultural Land Reform after the end of World War II. The existing act enacts that only those who live in agricultural rural area and cultivate their own land with family-farming style have rights to own and use agricultural lands. On the other hand, the bill calls for a change to open the agricultural land to TNCs and corporations that are seeking for speculating opportunities.
At the meeting we held in front of the diet building, the representatives of NOUMINREN called for solidarity. They emphasized “we cannot allow those corporations that mercilessly lay off labors to control the agricultural land. From their history, it is so obvious that if they do not make any profits, they will just resell the land to gain more profits. We cannot let this happen. For the future of agriculture and food, we have to keep fighting for this!” After the meeting, the representatives of NOUMINREN had a meeting with 40 members of the Diet, and demand them to repeal the bill.
As a continuation of this struggle, NOUMINREN is now working together with labors, women, small-scale companies, pensioners and so on to organize a big assembly and a meeting with government to demand the rise of self-sufficiency in food and the retraction of the land reform bill on April 22nd.
Moreover, there will be an exchange event between farmers, consumers, and students on April 25th and 26th in Shizuoka prefecture. This event, or Tea harvesting event, usually attracts more than 100 participants. During the event, the participants experience harvesting tea, making noodle from buckwheat flour, picking up wild eatable plants for dinner, seeing slaughter of chicken, and many other fun activities. These activities show them the process of food-making and that helps the participants understand what real food is and helps them realize the importance of sustainable agriculture and encourage them to support small-scale farmers.