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Japanese rice: the new, safe luxury food in China

20 Comments
By Alexandra Harney and Yuka Obayashi

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In so many ways the consumption habits of China's nouveau riche are identical to those of the Japanese during the Bubble. But hey, if you've found a market for your massive quantities of over priced surplus rice, win-win.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Considering that the Chinese consume 120 million tons a year and import a miniscule 160 tons from Japan tells you that high prices alone aren't the only cause. The last two paragraphs indicate that China, for whatever reason, is resisting any increase in importation.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“Chinese rice farmers use pesticides,” said a seller identified as Ying Ying, who started offering Japanese rice on the Taobao online marketplace last August. “Japanese rice isn’t polluted by heavy metals.”

Does the average Japanese farmer get away without using any chemical fertilizers or pesticides?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Pukey2JAN. 27, 2015 - 09:01AM JST Does the average Japanese farmer get away without using any chemical fertilizers or pesticides?

Hardly. Japanese rice farmers are obliged to use massive amounts of chemical fertilizer because fields are rarely allowed any fallow time and crop rotation is almost unheard of.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Hardly. Japanese rice farmers are obliged to use massive amounts of chemical fertilizer because fields are rarely allowed any fallow time and crop rotation is almost unheard of.---------------------------------------------------------------------

What are chemical fertilisers ?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

paulinusaJan. 27, 2015 - 08:25AM JST Considering that the Chinese consume 120 million tons a year and import a miniscule 160 tons from Japan tells you that high prices alone aren't the only cause. The last two paragraphs indicate that China, for whatever reason, is resisting any increase in importation.

Or these statistics could equally be read to reflect the fact that the opinions expressed in the article are not representative of the vast majority of Chinese consumers, who either cannot afford Japanese rice or don't care.

Since these people are buying small quantities online, which are then shipped through the mail system it is highly unlikely that there is a concerted effort by the Chinese government to resist Japanese rice.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Jesus.. I feel pretty sorry for Chinese people, the vast majority of Chinese would have no other option but to eat the filthy metallic rice produced in their ravaged soil.. Hopefully rice exporting from Japan to China can develop further, but I'm almost certain that the Chinese government would prevent it from growing much larger than it is now..

2 ( +3 / -1 )

They should go with Thai rice. It has taste. Japanese rice has to eaten with something in order to taste something.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Quality control (or lack of) of Chinese agricultural processes and products certainly is worrying and I try to avoid purchasing in most cases.

However the blind belief that Japanese agri-products are "safe & natural" is actually also worrying. In comparison to China, yes - probably the level of contaminants is much lower.

However, according to a report - OECD Pesticide reviews 2002 - (a little dated I know) Japan was the largest user of pesticides per unit area in the world. 7X USA & 2.5X France. In 2007 EU began strict control of organicphosphorous pesticides, but as far as I know, the same concerns have not been voiced here by the Agric ministry or JA.

This is just one example, and other areas of farm chemical usage (fertilizers, herbicides...)has been scrutinized by concerned groups, but it seems the bottom line is - bureaucracy rules.

But all things considered I'd rather take my chances with Japan produce and try to source my vegetables etc locally from known or reputable growers.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The rapid degradation of China's environment will, a decade from now in hindsight, be the story of the century - unless they get their act together. It's not all bad news: environmental protection can drive economic growth for developed economies, and China certainly recognizes this (hence the recent CO2 emission agreement with Obama) - but the government needs to start walking the walk like, now.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There are Chinese in Hachioji who buy mountains of "Merries" diapers to send back to China.

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shonanbbJAN. 27, 2015 - 12:06PM JST They should go with Thai rice. It has taste. Japanese rice has to eaten with something in order to taste something.

For literally decades the few Thai restaurants in Japan (until more recently) were forced to serve locally produced, medium grain rice as imports of Jasmine and other varieties were banned.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@JeffJuffman

This Thai restaurant at the bottom of Lumine Shinjuku has been serving Thai Jasmine rice since 1997, every time I've been there it's Jasmine rice not Japanese rice. Food was always good!

http://www.lumine.ne.jp/shinjuku/restaurant/03/khaosan.html

1 ( +1 / -0 )

25years in JapanJAN. 27, 2015 - 09:51AM JST What are chemical fertilisers ?

"25 years in Japan"? How many in the dark?

Chemical fertilizer as in made from petroleum and not from composted poo.

http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/international-markets-trade/countries-regions/japan/basic-information.aspx

On a per-hectare basis, Japan's farmers use several key inputs more heavily than U.S. farmers. Fertilizer use has been declining in Japan but is still high compared with other parts of the world. Phosphatic fertilizer application in 2010, for instance, was over four times higher per hectare in Japan than in the United States. Nitrogenous fertilizer application was 50 percent higher in Japan, and potassium fertilizers were applied almost twice as heavily in Japan. Data show that usage of most individual insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides tends to decline over time. However, Japan uses much more pesticide per hectare than the United States—ten times as much insecticide, twice as much herbicide, and almost 50 times more fungicide, in 2007.

kubojpJAN. 28, 2015 - 04:50AM JST @JeffJuffman This Thai restaurant at the bottom of Lumine Shinjuku has been serving Thai Jasmine rice since 1997, . . .

I'm sure they have. However, I've been in and out of Japan for twenty years before then and can remember dishes still being made with Japanese rice at Ban Thai as late as 1990. And while you can now import rice from wherever you like, the tariff remains so high that diners at Thai (or Indian) restaurants pay a premium for rice dishes.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

but it is looking to boost shipments to Asian countries as part of a wider push to export more agricultural products.

Chinese consumers are crazy and desperate about giving extraordinary price for Japanese rice. For making Sushi, no rice beat the Japanese rice. Japanese rice is sweet, sticky and soft however it will promote more sugar level in the blood stream. In the long run, consumers will get Diabetes.

If there is rice competition event, Burmese or Myanmar rice known as Paw San Myay will get the gold medal. Indian Bastmatic rice is better for lowering blood sugar level. China is closer to both Myanmar(Burma) and India comparing with Japan. It should import more rice from them instead of high GI and more expensive rice from Japan.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Toxic radiated Japanese rice, safe???? Are people crazy? I would not touch any produces from Japan with a ten foot pole. I'd rather eat heavy metal laden Chinese rice instead, it's actually safer than Japanese produces.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

I have noticed that there is a demand for Japanese rice, although imports are pretty low, this tell me that there could be some sort of Import restrictions, or some sort of government interference, and it seems to be the same with Japanese cars, is all of this Anti Japan (from China) people lead or government lead? I wonder!, and today is we will have a military march, lets think of some other stupid thing to wind Japan up! I know that there has been some bad blood between the two nations, but can't they forget about the past and try and get on?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Give me the japanese radiated stuff, screw any low quality unsafe garbage from china

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Give me the japanese radiated stuff,

Yay, that's telling 'em!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"Japanese rice imported by Chinese grain trader COFCO sells for 74 Chinese yuan ($12) a kg."

In theory Japanese rice farmers should be laughing their heads off all the way to the bank, but in reality they're just barely making a living. It's all screwed up.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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