International Japanese tea specialists growing in number, reflecting tea boom overseas

KYOTO and Nara, June 29 — Given the growing overseas popularity of Japanese tea, the number of international participants of internship programs at Japanese tea nurseries is increasing in number. Some tea gardens are so popular that it receives ten times as many applications as it has places. Many of the programs are the courses of three months or shorter that require no visa. For the trainees, the knowledge and experience gained in Japan will hopefully help them get jobs as instructors or managers of tea specialty shops back home. For tea growers, the trainees are not just new workers but people who can help them communicate the pure beauty … Continue reading

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Japan-EU trade negotiations dealing a blow to Japanese dairy farmers

HOKKAIDO, June 29 – As the European Union strongly calls for liberalization of Japan’s dairy market such as cheese in the negotiations for the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, dairy farmers of Hokkaido are worried that the prices of raw milk would drop, turning their investments into debts. Milk produced in Hokkaido occupies more than half of total production in Japan, and dairy farmers in the prefecture have fought to halt the decline in the nation’s milk production. However, 80 percent of milk produced in Hokkaido is used for processing, which means their produce will compete directly with products from the EU. The farmers have made efforts to maintain and strengthen … Continue reading

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JA Zenchu appoints Nakaya as chairman; Reform to continue

TOKYO, July 6 — Japan’s Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, known as JA Zenchu, has appointed Toru Nakaya, 67, as the next chairman, at a time when the country’s most powerful farm group is undergoing drastic reforms. Zenchu has been a prime target of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s structural changes to prop up a fragile economy. In his election, Nakaya won widespread support – 152 out of 240 valid votes from Zenchu representatives across the country – while his sole contender in the race, Masatoshi Sudo, 69, received 88 votes. This is Nakaya’s second challenge for Zenchu’s top post after the 2015 election. Nakaya is currently the chairman of JA … Continue reading

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Japan to help farmers’ access to foreign markets with advice

TOKYO, July 2 — Japan’s agriculture ministry has launched a program to assist farmers to gain access to foreign markets for their agricultural exports by providing advice on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) rules and pesticide residue standards mandated by importing countries. The ministry has set up counseling windows at 17 outlets of plant quarantine associations across the country. On request, hands-on advice will be available free of charge for producers at their farms from specialists on SPS measures and regulations governing pesticide residue in foods. The move is a part of the Japanese government’s strategy to boost agricultural exports overseas in order to offset an obvious loss in the domestic … Continue reading

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“No price war!” Japanese winemakers say removing tariffs on European wines will harm agricultural industry and tourism in Nagano Prefecture

NAGANO, June 24 —  The Japan-Europe EPA talks regarding a plan to cut tariffs on European wine have emerged, raising tensions in wine producing regions in Japan. “Authentic” wines from Europe with high brand power inevitably compete with Japanese wines price wise, and an increase in European wine import may shave the demand for domestically-made alcoholic beverages such as Japanese sake and shochu (locally-distilled spirits) as well in the country with the nation drinking increasingly less alcohol. Japanese wine producers have been placing extremely high expectations on the role of Japanese wines in the development of the sixth industrialization for an increase in agricultural income. The domestic wines are already … Continue reading

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