What is the role of domestic politics in facilitating or constraining a government's decision to participate in free trade agreements (FTAs)? This paper seeks to answer this question by focusing on the domestic politics in Japan over the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). In particular, we ask why the opposition to the TPP encompasses a much broader segment of society than is predicted by trade theorems. We show that a broader protectionist coalition can emerge through persuasion and policy campaigns by the elites, in particular, powerful protectionist interests expending resources to persuade the uncertain public.
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