【News】Japan’s fiscal 2016 Agricultural White Paper emphasizing necessities of “structural reforms” (May 24, 2017)

The Japanese government approved an Annual Report on Food, Agriculture and Rural Areas in Japan for the fiscal year 2016 or “White Paper on Agriculture” at its cabinet meeting held on May 23.

According to the White Paper, the total number of commercial farm households declined to 1.33 million in 2015, showing a 32-percent reduction in the past ten years.

The Agricultural White Paper has expressed concern that the base of agricultural production has been continuously undermined, emphasizing necessities of reducing prices of farm inputs as well as accelerating structural reforms in processing and distribution industries.

The Paper also touches upon future challenges to be addressed by the Japanese agriculture such as an increase in supplies of food and ingredients to be served at athletes’ village and other facilities of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics Games by introducing “Good Agricultural Practice (GAP)”, as well as promotion of “smart-agriculture” using artificial intelligence (AI).

Description of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the Paper has been much more reduced due to the U.S.’s withdrawal from TPP than that in the last year’s White Paper which told a feature story regarding the TPP free trade pact.

“Japan will continue discussions on what to do with TPP member countries by playing a leading role in having the TPP free trade pact take effect,” this year’s Agricultural White Paper says.

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