Japan Wanted Canada Out of Initial ACTA Group

Wikileaks posted several new ACTA cables earlier this month (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).  Much of the commentary has focused on how the U.S. envisioned using ACTA to pressure developing countries.  For example, one cable – which suggests that ACTA could be concluded in 2006 (a year before negotiations were even announced) – states:

Arai stressed that we should move as fast as possible and keep in mind that the intent of the agreement is to address the IPR problems of third-nations such as China, Russia, and Brazil, not to negotiate the different interests of like-minded countries.  The new agreement could serve as a yardstick for measuring the market economy status of countries such as China and Russia. 

Another cable includes commentary on specifically excluding other international organizations, with the USTR stressing that the G8 or OECD “might make it more difficult to construct a high-standards agreement.”

From a Canadian perspective it is worth noting that the Japanese proposed keeping Canada out of the initial negotiating group. 

Japan was anxious to get a quick agreement and suggested leaving Canada for a second tranche of countries. The U.S., presumably interested in using ACTA to pressure domestic Canadian change, maintained that Canada should be part of the initial group.  From the cable:

The GOJ [Government of Japan] sees the most likely candidates for the first tranche including France, UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.  The GOJ sees Italy and Canada as countries which should be approached in the second group, but DAS Moore explained potential difficulties with Canada, and pushed for the inclusion of developing countries such as Jordan and Morocco in the first tranche, too.  These countries had accepted high IPR standards in their FTA’s with the U.S.

Interestingly, the cable from 2006 foreshadows areas of future disagreement. For example, the involvement of the European Union was viewed as sensitive owing to the likely battle over geographic indications:

Nakatomi in particular understood U.S. interest in approaching member states first, nothing for example that the Commission could link the whole discussion of ACTA to a discussion of geographic indicators, a prospect which Moore termed a “non-starter” for the U.S. Both agreed that careful management would be required.

Japan also cited its own areas of concern, stating that “the GOJ would find it very difficult to commit to changing its laws on ex officio prosecutions, statutory damages, and sentencing guidelines.”


  1. I think that the Office of Consumer Affairs should be looking into the deceptive practices of certain Japanese companies:


  2. SONY as the example
    If SONY is atypical of what we can expect from Japanese companies exploiting ACTA, then exclusion from their process, and implementation of our own provisions, is the superior, democratic, sovereign solution for Canada.

  3. Just can’t wait for the rest…
    Of the Canadian Wiki-Leaks. From the perspective of wiki-leaks history, it seems that Wiki Leaks concentrate on the countries when their is division or political issues that are being hidden or brushed over, so they release the cables (ala SPAIN, middle east) just before votes or decisions to allow for the real truth to come out to encourage popular protest. I expect we will be getting a bunch of cables just prior or even during the spring election. The current government has overworked our patience.

  4. LLM student of Chinese University of Hong Kong
    actually I have just finished an essay about ACTA and I must say thank you for releasing so many info on this website. In my personal view, developed countries may be resting too much hope on ACTA, whose negotiation in fact excluded many important developing countries. All of us know that potecting IP Rights is essential through out the world, but can we give more time to developing countries?

  5. Dwight Williams says:

    Interesting and Disturbing
    I look forward to further consequences of this revelation with interest.

  6. point varyin says:

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  7. point varyin says:

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