It's been a while since we last heard anything about the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. All we knew was that the secret negotiations were still ongoing, but no public statement had been made for a few months. Now the silence has been broken as the treaty may be losing support from a potentially important ally.
TechDirt reports that Japan may be dropping its support for TPP. The country, which is known for absurd Internet-related laws, isn't dropping its support because of any copyright or Internet-related propositions in the treaty. Instead, the treaty is losing support among officials due its potential threat to local agriculture.
Japan isn't the first Asian country to suggest pulling out of TPP over concerns of what it would do to their economy. Back in August of last year, Malaysia's Health Minister said the country should pull out of the agreement due to it favoring U.S. pharmaceuticals:
According to the agreement, if a medicine is launched in the US, and then three years later it is launched in Malaysia, the patent would start from when it is launched here and not when it was launched earlier in the US. This is not fair.”
Going back to Japan, the opposition from the agriculture industry doesn't mean Japan will back out of it completely. Despite strong opposition from its citizens, the country secretly ratified ACTA in the middle of the night last year. Of course, Japan's new conservative government may not be as willing to approve a treaty that's being spearheaded by the U.S., but then again, maybe it is.
Despite the vocal minority objecting to TPP, the treaty still has quite a bit of support from participating nations. It also doesn't face much resistance due to the secretive nature of the negotiations so most citizens don't even know what those involved are planning. One group is trying to gain access to the treaty's text by offering a bounty for it, but their efforts have yet to be rewarded.