Category Archives: Farm Policy

Japan’s reforming farm minister leads cultivating new markets

TOKYO, Aug. 4 ― One year after becoming Japan’s agriculture minister, Ken Saito has led a move to cultivate new markets overseas for Japanese farm products. “The past year has been very exciting to me,” Saito said at a Aug. 3 press conference, as he reflected the first year as the agriculture minister. Indeed, he focused on boosting Japanese farm exports for much of the past year, as he stressed the country faces a declining population. Japanese food export value in the first five months of 2018 rose 15% from the same period a year earlier. If they can keep this pace, Japan will likely meet its target of 1 … Continue reading

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Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate remains flat at 38% in 2017

TOKYO, Aug. 9 ― Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate remained the second lowest level in 2017, due to steadily declining consumption of rice, the country’s staple food, and increasing meat imports, despite a recover of harvest in northern Japan. The calorie-based rate of food self-sufficiency in 2017 remained flat at 37.78 percent, followed by 37.58 percent in 2016, the agriculture ministry said on Aug. 8. 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 … Continue reading

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Japan needs to improve self-sufficiency rate: farm minister

TOKYO, Aug. 11 ― Japan’s Agriculture Minister Ken Saito has stressed the government will double its efforts to help farmers enable to keep growing products that people want to eat in order to improve the country’s food self-sufficiency. The calorie-based rate of self-sufficiency remained flat at 37.78 percent in 2017, according to the ministry. That was the second lowest level, despite a recover of harvest after heavy rains in northern Japan. “The biggest problem is Japanese are increasingly moving away from rice,” Saito said at a Aug. 10 press conference, attributing the low self-sufficiency rate to declining consumption of the country’s staple food. “We need to create an environment which … Continue reading

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Japan and US end ministerial talks on trade with no progress

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 ― Japan and the U.S. completed their first ministerial meeting under a new framework on bilateral trade issues, with agreeing to continue talks, though officials offered few details. The first round of the talks came after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the U.S. President Donald Trump agreed in April to set up the new framework to discuss “free, fair and reciprocal (FFR)” trade. “We had a frank exchange of views and deepened mutual understanding,” Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters after the two-day meeting that ended on Aug. 10. According to sources, Motegi had a one-on-one meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Robert Lighthizer, for more … Continue reading

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[Editorial] New Japan-U.S. trade talks must never lead to another FTA (Aug. 12)

Earlier this month, Japan and the United States held their first meeting under what they call “free, fair and reciprocal” trade talks, and the U.S. called for launching negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA). Japan should never accept a Japan-U.S. FTA, as it will deal a heavy blow to Japan’s agriculture. The government and the ruling coalition should make clear their stance of adamantly refusing such a deal when they engage in future negotiations. Economy revitalization minister Toshimitsu Motegi, who is also in charge of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) multilateral accord, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will lead the dialogue, dubbed the FFR talks. The two governments … Continue reading

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