Category Archives: Farm Policy

Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate drops after six years in 2016

TOKYO, Aug. 10 — Japan’s food self-sufficiency dropped for the first time in six years to the second lowest level, due to steadily declining consumption of rice, the country’s stable food, as well as poor harvest in northern Japan after heavy rains. The calorie-based rate of food self-sufficiency in 2016 fell to 37.58 percent, the agriculture ministry said Aug. 09. The country’s lowest figure was 37 percent in 1993, after the unusually cold and rainy summer had damaged the rice crop, and forced Tokyo to make a move often considered taboo – importing foreign rice – at that time. The food self-sufficiency rate shows how much a country can satisfy … Continue reading

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【Analysis】The truth about Japan’s falling food self-sufficiency (Aug. 10)

Japan’s food self-sufficiency in calorie terms dropped for the first time in six years due in part to agricultural output dipping significantly after unfavorable weather conditions. This is, however, not the whole story. The Japanese government has sought to open its agricultural market for growth, yet it has remained negligent when it comes to food security. The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has, since the beginning of 2013, sought trade liberalization via a series of free trade agreements: Japan-Australia economic partnership agreement (EPA); the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); and most recently the Japan-EU EPA. Those agreements were reached on increased market access for foreign farm products in Japan, in exchange … Continue reading

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Japan PM Abe’s new cabinet seen advancing agriculture reform

TOKYO, Aug. 04 — Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has appointed a new cabinet at a time when his public approval ratings were tumbling due to accusations of cronyism and missteps by previous cabinet members. Bringing some veteran lawmakers into the new cabinet, Abe dubbed it a “Result-oriented cabinet of professionals” at a press conference on Aug. 03. Abe stressed his top priority is reviving the economy, and said: “Structural reform is the ultimate weapon of Abenomics.” The Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, or JA Zenchu, has been a prime target of Abe’s structural changes. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, one of Abe’s most important allies, has been behind the … Continue reading

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Japan’s new agriculture minister urges staff to change mindset

TOKYO, Aug. 05 — Japan’s Agriculture Minister Ken Saito has told ministry staff members to change their mindsets, urging them to bring new ideas in leading the way for a farming revival. “There is an aging and shrinking population, and if you don’t take new initiatives, you will have to accept the fate that this once proud industry will be on the brink of death,” Saito told the staff members on Aug. 04. “What agriculture policies should we draw up? Will it be okay to keep the status quo? If we need to change, then what changes should be made? Each one of us should think about these seriously,” he … Continue reading

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Chairman of Japan’s Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives says safeguard on frozen beef imports is necessary to protect livestock industry

TOKYO, Aug. 3 – Chairman of the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, known as Zenchu, Choue Okuno, commented on Japan’s latest safeguard on frozen beef imports from the U.S. and other countries. “The safeguard was imposed automatically by the laws. It’s necessary in order to protect domestic farmers and promote the livestock industry in Japan,” he said. The emergency tariffs on beef imports are triggered when quarterly beef import volume exceeds 117% of that of the previous year. It’s the first time for the safeguard to be imposed on imported beef in 14 years. The Japanese government will raise its tariff on frozen beef from the U.S., Canada, and New … Continue reading

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