Scandal is latest blow to deeply controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement
Yesterday, a top Japanese official in charge of negotiating the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement resigned over serious allegations of bribery and corruption.
In a rapid response that unfolded overnight, more than 10,000 people signed a petition launched by Fight for the Future demanding an investigation into the bribery allegations and whether they affected the TPP, and called upon President Obama and other world leaders not to sign the agreement on February 4th amid such a scandal.
"No one should be surprised by this, and it’s hard to imagine that Mr. Amari is the only official involved in negotiating this massive agreement that has been engaging in this dishonest activity. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect example of why the TPP should never become law," said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, a digital rights group that has fiercely opposed the deal, "Decisions that affect billions of people should never be made in secret. Shutting journalists, experts, and the public out of the drafting of these agreements literally guarantees that there will be corruption, and the final text speaks for itself, reading like a wishlist for politically powerful and incumbent corporations."
Investigators claim that Akira Amari, Japan’s chief economic minister, accepted bribes worth more than $148,000 from a major construction company. It’s unclear whether the bribes were related to the TPP itself, but the public is demanding answers.
The petition, which quickly went viral on social media and was tweeted thousands of times, reads, "Signing the TPP while there are serious allegations of corruption concerning one of its top negotiators would be reckless and anti-democratic. Do not sign the TPP. We demand a full investigation into these bribery charges and a review of all officials involved in TPP negotiations.”
Fight for the Future intends to deliver the signatures to President Obama early next week before the February 4th date when world leaders have expressed their intention to sign the TPP.
Fight for the Future is a digital rights nonprofit best known for organizing the largest online protests in history against SOPA, for net neutrality, and against mass government surveillance. Learn more at https://www.fightforthefuture.org or follow us on Twitter at @fightfortheftr