Following up on the news of how ACTA negotiators hid the information about the latest round of negotiations, including scheduling the only opportunity for consumer advocates to meet with negotiators until it was too late for those consumer advocates to get to Tokyo in time for the meeting, a bunch of those groups asked the Japanese delegation to change the schedule to allow for a meeting next week, rather than on the 24th. Sean Flynn passes along the note he received (and others got nearly identical notes):
Thank you for your contact.
First of all, we regret that we could not inform you earlier of the lunch meeting.
As we just settled our program of this round this week with other parties, we have not able to inform our schedule to public beforehand.
Please kindly understand our situation.
Actually lunch time on 24 Sept is the only slot for NGO meeting.
The purpose of the lunch meeting provides an opportunity to exchange views informally between the negotiating parties and the public, not a firm consultation.
All ACTA negotiation parties recognize the importance of transparency and we are to discuss any ways to promote transparency of ACTA negotiations.
Flynn also points us to the news that the Green Party in the EU also asked to meet with negotiators in Tokyo, and there was some hope that perhaps that the negotiators would agree to that, since the EU Parliament has made it clear that they are not happy with ACTA and may try to block it. But… no such luck:
Thank you for your message.
We understand the Greens/EFA Group’s interest in the transparency very well.
The Government of Japan also recognizes the importance of the transparency in ACTA negotiations and decided to arrange a lunch meeting with the public on September 24 as you know.
However, it is with regret that we cannot arrange the meeting during the week of September 27 due to purely practical organizational reasons.
We regret that we could not inform you earlier of lunch meeting as you pointed out. As we just settled the program of ACTA negotiations in Tokyo this week with the negotiating parties, we cannot inform our lunch meeting to public beforehand. Please kindly understand our situation.
ACTA negotiating parties share the intention to promote transparency and we are to discuss any ways to promote the transparency of ACTA negotiations.
Talk about lip service to transparency while at the same time mocking it. Also, while some supporters of ACTA seem to claim that because the documents were shown once to such public interest groups everything’s perfectly transparent, it seems pretty damn obvious that those working on ACTA have done their best to keep rather important stakeholders very much out of the conversation. Of course, the industries, who are such fans of ACTA, may discover that screwing over consumers and consumer advocates comes back to bite them. You don’t have much of a business without consumers after all.