New agriculture minister asks senior officials to actively review policies

TOKYO, Oct. 7 – New agriculture minister Genjiro Kaneko asked for an aggressive review of farm policies in a speech in front of the ministry’s senior officials on Oct. 6.

“The agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector is the nation’s basis that supports regional economy and society,” Kaneko said. “I hope you will be free from the conventional approach and review policies aggressively. I want to bring together our wisdom.”

Kaneko listed the challenges faced by the sector, including a decline in the number of farms and shrinking demand for farm produce amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The importance of the role which the farm ministry should play is increasing even more,” he said. “I hope to proceed with reforms to raise the income of people working in the sector and revitalize rural villages by focusing on the needs of people in those communities.”

Looking back at his experiences of working to vitalize the agriculture sector while serving as a member of the Nagasaki Prefectural Assembly and as Nagasaki governor, Kaneko stressed the need to listen to the voices of local people and reflect them in policy making.

He also expressed willingness to work on achieving the target of boosting annual exports of farm produce and food items to 5 trillion yen in 2030, as well as promoting the ministry’s green food system strategy aimed at reducing the environmental impact of agriculture.

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