Author Archives: The Japan Agricultural News

Japan lowers 2018 rice production outlook by 1 point to 98

TOKYO, Dec. 11 ― Japan’s agriculture ministry has cut the 2018 rice production outlook by 1 point to 98, the lowest level in eight years, affected by weather conditions. Production outlook for table rice now stands at 7.32 million metric tons, down 2,000 tons from the October intended plantings and larger than a year earlier, the ministry said. The survey-based estimate of 2018 rice planted area was 1.38 million hectares, up 16,000 hectares above a year earlier. However, a drop in sunshine hours seems to have imposed a significant stress throughout some regions, including Niigata, Akita and Hokkaido prefectures, the ministry explained.

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Japan Diet approves FTA with EU; take effect in February 2019

TOKYO, Dec. 9 ― Japan’s upper house approved the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) by a majority vote at a plenary session on Dec. 8, leaving farmers to greet the mega free trade agreement with a sense of dread. With the European Parliament and the EU council being set to ratify the deal by year-end, the deal will come into force on Feb. 1, 2019. The lower house gave its approval in late November. Legislative debates both at the lower and the upper houses totaled only nine hours. The deal will give EU food exporters greater access to the Japanese market, with products such as cheese and pork, and deliver … Continue reading

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TPP-11 kicks in on Dec. 30 for six countries, including Japan

TOKYO, Dec. 31 ― The landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the U.S., also known as TPP-11, entered into force on Dec. 30, 2018, bringing steep tariff cuts to the first six countries that ratified the trade pact, including Japan, Australia and Canada. That will likely pose challenges for businesses that require Japanese farmers to increase competitiveness at home. Vietnam will officially enter the pact on Jan 14, 2019, while Brunei, Chile, Malaysia and Peru will come on board 60 days after they complete their ratification procedures. With the TPP-11, tariffs were slashed to zero overnight for some products, while others will be reduced over a period of up to 20 … Continue reading

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JA ZEN-NOH unit to build new grain export terminal in Canada

TOKYO, Dec. 14 ― JA ZEN-NOH Grain Corp., a marketing subsidiary of Japan’s largest farmers’ cooperative, said its Canadian unit has agreed to set up a joint venture with Canada’s Parrish & Heimbecker to build a new export terminal at the port of Vancouver. The terminal will provide 4 million metric tons of annual handling capacity, said Japan’s National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (JA ZEN-NOH) on Dec. 12. The move comes as Canadian grain exports to China continues to grow and the JA ZEN-NOH, the marketing arm of JA group, needed to secure a stable supply of grains for animal feeds to Japan. Construction on the new terminal has … Continue reading

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More foreign tourists heading to Japan’s rural villages

MIYAZAKI, Jan. 1 – Foreign tourists visiting rural areas in Japan are on the rise. As the Japan National Tourism Organization statistics show, the estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan topped 30 million in 2018, and repeat visitors is also increasing. Foreign tourists with a clear intention to have deeper experiences in Japan are traveling to the countryside to enjoy nature, the unique landscape, tradition, culture and local specialties. Breathtaking scenery Shiiba, a village in Miyazaki Prefecture, is recently attracting foreign visitors with Sennin no Tanada, meaning rice terraces of the hermit. Also referred to as the Machu Picchu of Shiiba, because of the resemblance of the landscape to … Continue reading

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