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 a country can satisfy its food needs from its food needs from its own domestic production. Japan’s calorie-based rate of food self-sufficiency had remained flat at 39 percent for the last six years.

So, a further decline is embarrassing for Tokyo, as the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to achieve 45 percent self-sufficiency by 2025.

The self-sufficiency in production value terms in 2017 also fell by 2 points to 65 percent, the second lowest level, as imports of meat and fish products increased thanks to a weakening yen.

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