GDP growth may drop 1 point by joining TPP: researchers

Japan's gross domestic product growth could be pushed down by 1.0 percentage point, or 4.8 trillion yen, if it joins the envisaged Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, a group of Japanese researchers said Wednesday.

The estimate, covering the impact of tariff elimination on farming and increases in exports to other countries, contrasts with the government estimate released in March that the pact could boost growth by 0.66 point, or 3.2 trillion yen.

The researchers, who are opposed to the TPP, said their efforts to reflect the pact's impact on not just the farming sector directly but also industries related to farming accounted for the difference in the figures.

During their presentations in Tokyo, Eiji Doi, honorary professor at Shizuoka University, also said farming output is estimated to fall 3.5 trillion yen, and some 1.9 million people, mostly farmers, could lose their jobs if Japan joins the TPP.

Japan is set to become the 12th member of the ongoing negotiations on the trade liberalization pact in July while members aim to conclude a deal by the end of the year.

As the TPP calls for elimination of tariffs, Japanese farmers who have been protected by high tariffs have voiced concern about an influx of cheap foreign imports.