Apple thefts grow in Aomori; may targets of organized gangs

AOMORI, Nov. 13 ― Apple thefts are on the rise in Aomori prefecture, Japan’s largest apple growing region. “Growers are feeling wretched after losing fruits of their labors,” said an official from the JA Tsugaru Hirosaki, a regional farmers cooperative in Aomori. According to the Aomori police, five theft cases have been reported since October, totaling 13,000 apples stolen as of Nov. 12, including 500,000 yen worth of Fuji apples in Hirosaki city and 400,000 yen worth of Fuji apples in Tsugaru city. “And reports to police may be the tip of the iceberg,” the official said. Incidents include a series of daylight thefts, and farmers sometimes can’t notify police … Continue reading

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Japan set to accept up to 7,300 foreign workers in farm sector

TOKYO, Nov. 15 ― Japan will likely bring up to 7,300 foreign workers into the country’s farm sector in a new approach to immigration in the first year, a simulation by the government has showed. The parliament at the current extraordinary session is set to deliberate the draft legislation to accept more foreign blue-collar workers from April next year, a controversial move for the country that is known for its strict immigration rules. The draft legislation is designed to tackle the labor shortage in 14 sectors, including agriculture, social care and construction, in the face of the country’s aging population. Under the new bill, foreign nationals with skills in the … Continue reading

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Japan, China, S.Korea to boost border control over swine fever

BEIJING, Nov. 11 ― Japan, China and South Korea have agreed to boost border control, as livestock infectious diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease and deadly African swine fever have been recorded across the globe in recent years. “We need to deepen mutual cooperation on many fronts,” Japanese Agriculture Minister Takamori Yoshikawa said at a joint press conference after the trilateral agriculture ministers’ meeting in Beijing that wrapped up on Nov. 10. A joint statement adopted by the three said: “Given the increasing threat of Transboundary Animal Diseases such as African swine fever, cooperation for effective border control among three countries needs to be strengthened.” The meeting came at a time … Continue reading

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TPP’s beef safeguard faces criticism from Japan’s oppositions

TOKYO, Nov. 2 ― Japan’s farmers as well as the opposition lawmakers have increasingly raised their voices to review a safeguard mechanism for beef imports as well as reduce tariff rate quotas for dairy products, as the U.S. return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is unlikely to happen. The original TPP represented a mixture of economic and political benefits. But without the U.S., it is not convincing Japanese farmers and opposition lawmakers that the deal aims to influence China. This necessitates some serious consideration of its costs, they say. More specifically, they are calling for cutting back new tariff rate quotas (TRQ) for the TPP to be reduced by the … Continue reading

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New farm minister vows nurturing future generation of farmers

TOKYO, Nov. 9 ― Japan’s new agriculture minister, Takamori Yoshikawa, has pledged that his government would take up steps to steer the future of farming and nurture the next generation of farmers. Testifying before the lower house of agriculture committee on Nov. 8, Yoshikawa told fellow parliamentarians: “In order to ensure sustainable development of agriculture, we need to build a local pool of talents for farms of the future.” Yoshikawa also stressed that the government will speed up recovery efforts in areas that have been hit hard by natural disasters, including the recent Hokkaido earthquake and torrential rains in western Japan. In the latest cabinet reshuffle of Prime Minister Shinzo … Continue reading

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