Author Archives: The Japan Agrinews

Japan’s farm minister defends government’s trade estimates

TOKYO, Dec. 23 — Japan’s Agriculture Minister Ken Saito has defended the estimates the government released on impacts of recently signed trade deals, saying he will continue explaining farmers with details. The government on Dec. 21 unveiled estimates of the impact on agricultural products from the two deals, namely the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the United States and the Japan-EU free trade agreement. Yet some experts raise criticism that the government underestimates the impact on the farming sector because the estimates were calculated with the condition that agricultural production volume would not be changed. “I don’t see any problem with the way it was calculated,” Saito said at a Dec. … Continue reading

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Japan estimates farm output to fall by $2.3 bln from trade deals

TOKYO, Dec. 22 — Japan’s agricultural production value will likely drop by up to 260 billion yen ($2.3 billion), once the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the United States and the Japan-EU free trade agreement take effect, government estimates have showed. The government on Dec. 21 unveiled estimates of the impacts on agricultural products, whose tariffs are above 10 percent, and domestic production value is more than 1 billion yen, in the two recently signed trade deals. It concluded that prices of domestic products may fall as the agreements slash tariffs on meat and dairy and other agricultural products that are sensitive to Japanese farmers. The TPP is likely to reduce … Continue reading

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Japan eyes stricter labeling on non-genetically modified foods

TOKYO, Dec. 19 — Japan is considering a stricter labeling policy for non-genetically modified organisms (GMO) to allow consumers to make the right choice. A panel of experts that included food makers and consumer protection groups held a seventh round of talks on Dec. 18 for the Consumer Affairs Agency to review GMO policy. Under the 2001 GMO labeling law, Japan requires mandatory labels for eight crops containing GMO, such as soybeans and corn, and soy- and corn-based products. Such products include tofu, natto, soymilk, miso, corn starch and popcorn. But at the same time, Japan allows a five percent tolerance for GMO content in food. In other words, if … Continue reading

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Kadomatsu, something Japanese must have as new year decoration

GUNMA, Dec. 24 — Akagi Green, a gardening and landscaping company in Maebashi city, Gunma Prefecture, is now in the busiest time of the year, making kadomatsu, traditional Japanese new year decorations. The kadomatsu in various sizes, ranging in height from 1 to 2 meters, are lined up in its garden. The company is going to make approximately 200 pairs by December 24 and ship them to the customers mainly in the Kanto region by December 28. The most poplar ones are those of 1.5 meters tall. Takeshi Ogiwara, 45-year-old president of the company, said, “Kadomatsu is inseparable from new years in Japan. We want to continue making them as … Continue reading

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【Opinion】 Problem of achieving food security through diversifying imports (Dec. 18, 2017)

[By Yasushi Tange, visiting researcher at Norinchukin Research Institute] Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate marked 38 percent on a calorie basis in fiscal 2016, down 1 percentage point from a year before, posting a year-on-year drop for the first time in six years. The figure was the second-lowest level ever after 37 percent recorded in fiscal 1993, when the country suffered a serious rice shortage following bad weather. The self-sufficiency rate, which was 73 percent in fiscal 1965, has been on a declining trend since then. Some criticize that an obsession with food sufficiency figures may be off the mark, citing such reasons as the fact that fruit and vegetables, although … Continue reading

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