Either Obama will be the president whose initiatives to address income inequality and wage stagnation helped rebuild America's middle class, or he will prioritize a trade agenda that will offshore more good-paying jobs, destroy what is left of the American manufacturing sector, increase income inequality and speed the demise of America's middle class.
We must adapt Japan's labor regulations to the norms of modern life almost everywhere, which means allowing every individual to strike a beneficial balance between life and work. We Japanese will always work hard -- I have no doubt about that. But we also need to enable and encourage more Japanese women to participate in the workforce, whether at the beginning of their careers, or after choosing to have and raise children.
The administration says the trade deal will boost U.S. exports in the fast-growing Pacific basin where the United States faces growing economic competition from China. The TPP is part of Obama's strategy to contain China's economic and strategic prowess. Fine. But the deal will also allow American corporations to outsource even more jobs abroad. In other words, the TPP is a Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big corporations and Wall Street banks a way to eliminate any and all laws and regulations that get in the way of their profits.