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Japan's food self-sufficiency rate lowest in 25 years

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Maybe this will give proof to those that think that everything in Japan is better and all the food they eat here is from here, is just a huge fallacy in their minds!

Japan can not feed it's people without importing food, it's impossible. Japanese agriculture has also made it impossible for people to regularly purchase Japanese produced goods as they are far too expensive to the average consumer, who is losing buying power all the time!

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Since EU-Japan EPA I’m already enjoying cheaper olive, canned foods and many others. Though I’m a big fan of Japanese food and hope Japan’s agriculture will find the way to get steadier, feeling good having variety of choices from all over the world that’s not a bad thing at all.

I just want Cinnabon in Japan.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

And yet.... the Japanese farmers that are left still don't want do give up any market share to imports. The government needs to let imports do as they will but they need a backup plan too. Basically they need to identify agricultural land and ensure it is available when needed along with seed warehouses.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

And what's scarier is the lack of food storage in so many homes! When we get a big earthquake (+10) there will be severe issues with lack of food and water.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

66% of the value buys 37% of the calories. This shows that Japanese food costs about 80% more per calorie than imported food.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Maybe if the fields used to grow rice were used more than half the year, there would be less need to import.

Down by me, the fields all around my house and town are only used to grow rice between June and November.  Even in winter it's good enough to grow certain hardy crops, and there's no real reason not to grow from March.  It's just so inefficient.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

jj1067

There is Cinnabon in Japan, at least in the Tokyo area.

Google "Cinnabon Tokyo" for locations.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Cucumbers, one piece almost a hundred yen in summer, due to poor weather?

Japanese celery, bland and expensive.

Watermelon, tomatoes in summer, through the roof.

Import!

Consumers are meant to absorb exorbitant produce fees, for bad weather?

If you can't grow it, import!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Japan is screwed if supply lines are ever cut for any reason.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This could matter in the future, but it doesn't at the moment. Japan has goods to export and importing food is one way to balance trade. Forcing users to buy Japanese grown wheat, soy, rice (for processing into crackers etc), soba, animal feed, etc. will only vastly increase costs. Japan is an elderly society with many on fixed incomes. Food prices matter.

If push came to shove and Japan's ability to buy food from overseas falls, there is lots of farmland that can be brought back into production or double-cropped if the economics of it changes. This of course means a much more basic diet, but by this stage there is probably already a war, a global-level climate disaster, or at least a huge Japanese economic crash. Such situations would come will "all bets are off" levels of problems, no imported oil and gas either, for example.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan should not depend on a lot of importing food. What if they do not export any more due to shortage of foods, bad harvests by climate change. desertification... in the future. It will happen sooner or later. So many people would starve to death just like chaotic days after WW2.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I recollect hearing about a flaw in measuring the self-sufficiency rate by caloric intake.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Life as currently lived is unsustainable, especially in First World countries like Japan. The current levels of consumption will not continue. The earth does not have enough resources. The future is all about how we adapt and how well we can move over to sustainable practices. Japan currently imports lots of calories, but it is for a meat and seafood heavy diet. Any sustainable future will be about eating plants. The shop selling udon will stay with us much longer than Ikinari Steak. I say this not as a vegetarian but simply as someone who understands that "unsustainable=will end".

Fwiw, I would be all for improving sustainability in Japan, but throwing more money at existing Japanese agriculture with its inefficiencies and huge oil use just because some number is 37% is not the way forward.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@kohakuebisu

Wise, wise words.

Let’s hope people listen....

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I think summer watermelon prices are fair. Less than 300 yen for a nice sliver. Tastes great and does not rot.

Other produce is great too. For two hundred yen I can get 7 cukes. Same with a big bag of tomatoes.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Shops full of Chinese produce.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

There are Japanese farmers in other countries (USA, S. America), perhaps they can do something to help?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan wasted 30% of its food each year. Cut back on this and your food self-sufficiency rate will jump.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Stop fooling the consumer with less food for same price (0.9 L bottle, who does that !)

The lack of large farmers and use of technology to improve yields are the root causes.

And no, it is not about not being able to feed the world. There are countries that ould feed the whole world alone on a correct diet.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Fukushima produce may be the answer here?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I think summer watermelon prices are fair. Less than 300 yen for a nice sliver. Tastes great and does not rot

I sure as hell do not appreciate having to pay 4,000 or more for a decent watermelon here! Those are NOT fair prices, they are rip-offs!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Anyone else find it ironic that many local folk have such trust isses with non-Japanese while importing 63% of their food on a calorie basis? Similarly, if you can't live on rice alone, why do you have to protect it and force the residents to pay 7X the world market price? In another 15 years, the average age of the farmers left alive will be over 80, and you will either have corporate agriculture growing it, or import it anyway.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Why is Japan so hung up on self sufficient food production ?..this is 2019 , not early 20th century....there are always countries willing to sell food to Japan. Focus on producing what you good at and import the rest.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Japan is the only country in the world that uses caloric intake to measure food self-sufficiency. This is just propaganda from the most protectionist ministry in Japan. The statistic has little meaning. McDonalds and Moss Burger for example import beef from Australia and chicken from Thailand in large volumes. Japan is 100% self-sufficient in rice. It is 80% self-sufficient in vegetables and could easily be 100% if it chose to be. Meat and pork are similar.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

As long as JA hold the reigns nothing will change, actually it will, it will get worse. Farmers can't diversify or find markets for produce unless they use JA supplied seeds and grow JA approved crops. Importing foods has to get past JA thus the abysmal availability of various cheese, and meats. And those that do make it face taxes so as to make them out of reach of most. Not to metion the regulations concerning proportion sizes that are also part of the reason blocking importation. Yet they whine when the French don't want 0.9lt bottles of wine.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

cartierToday 02:39 pm JST

Japan is the only country in the world that uses caloric intake to measure food self-sufficiency. This is just propaganda from the most protectionist ministry in Japan. The statistic has little meaning. McDonalds and Moss Burger for example import beef from Australia and chicken from Thailand in large volumes. Japan is 100% self-sufficient in rice. It is 80% self-sufficient in vegetables and could easily be 100% if it chose to be. Meat and pork are similar.

Yeah, it's a load of Arsenal, just fear-mongering from MAFF. Only last week there was an article in the Asahi Shimbun about how Japan is nearly 100% self-sufficient for veggies sold in supermarkets.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is probably also due to the fact that since agriculture is such a protected market segment in Japan, it's not very competitive and thus not efficient. They could probably produce more than they are doing, if the market was stimulated by competition.

The problem is the government's strongest voting base is made up of farmers, and this is why they don't de-regulate the market. This is not a wise strategy in the long term, though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan is 100% self-sufficient in rice. It is 80% self-sufficient in vegetables and could easily be 100% if it chose to be. Meat and pork are similar.

Where in the world do you get these figures? Japan imports rice! Look it up, they actually do, and for a variety of reasons as well.

Also you really need to add some information to support your other mistaken ideas!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Singapore's at 11%...trying to get to 30% by 2030, for comparison.

Canada is 6th at 183% (Guess they export excess)

Argentina is #1 at 273% (thought us would be)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My list came from UN FAO.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I sure as hell do not appreciate having to pay 4,000 or more for a decent watermelon here! Those are NOT fair prices, they are rip-offs!

You would pay a fraction of that in Greece - less than €1 a k/g in summer.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why by kilo or pound? Apples and watermelon are sold together, right? If selling by pound, I can legally just cut the slides I want then.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Slices

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@kohakuebisu

It seems like you're the only one who really understands what's going on here.

Japan does not need to utilise all available spaces in order to produce food, when they can import it cheaply.

Japan is an advanced industrialised country, they export goods and mainly capital; farming is few and far in between.

All industrialised countries are food dependant, with the exception of the good old US of A (because they've got far too much space and appropriate weather conditions anyway).

Briain is also food dependant, so is China, Russia, Brazil and Nauru!

https://www.theweek.co.uk/95658/can-britain-ever-be-food-self-sufficient

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When measured by production value, the rate in fiscal 2018 was 66 percent, unchanged from a year earlier, with the decrease in prices of vegetables and eggs offset by increased sugar beet output, the ministry said.

Why is Japan producing sugar beets - trying to be self-sufficient in something that the human diet doesn't need?

Thank the LDP for forty post-war years for screwing up Japan's ability to achieve a higher level of self-sufficiency. At this point, it's about down to forced collectivisation and doing away with small plots. Up through the 90s, Japan's agriculture was still classified as "intensive gardening." Where possible, larger contiguous fields more easily worked by larger machinery should be Japan's goal along with throwing money at strategic farming communities. The non-plan now seems to be to let rural Japan collapse and re-wild.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Food self-sufficiency measured by production value increased by 2% to 68%. There was a decrease in vegetable and fruit imports and an increase in domestic production of both. Rice self-sufficiency was at 100%. No one in Japan is going to go hungry. Wheat production is low. Nearly all bread is made with imported wheat because domestic wheat is used for udon.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Even when using caloric intake, Japan is ranked number 9 in food self-sufficiency. This is hardly an emergency.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

From my windows the fields are green with rice growing, wheat. There are many vegetables growing and there's no shortage of water.

Most of my neighbors are self sufficient in growing their vegetables and about one third of what we eat are gifts from them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

cartierToday  12:58 am JST Wheat production is low. Nearly all bread is made with imported wheat because domestic wheat is used for udon.

Japan's climate is ill-suit to grain production other than rice. The tariffs on imported grain are almost exclusionary making beer and whisky much more costly than they should be.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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