Japan’s new agriculture minister urges staff to change mindset

TOKYO, Aug. 5 — 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. 4.

“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 said.

Emphasizing the ball is in the hands of each staff member, Saito said: “Please bring me new ideas, new approaches that will revitalize the agriculture industry.”

He continued, “I will play second fiddle to the needs of getting the agriculture sector working again.”

Saito was appointed on Aug. 3 by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who dubbed his new cabinet a “Result-oriented cabinet of professionals.”

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