On Monday, news went out that the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is asking that everyone in Japan drink more milk at the behest of the Japan Dairy Association. The reason is that a large amount of surplus of milk is at risk of going unused and therefore disposed of.
If this all sounds incredibly familiar, that’s because the exact same thing happened three months ago when the Prime Minister issued the exact same call to cartons. However, it would seem that instead of learning their lesson, the dairy industry is once again asking us to bail them out.
The first time, many people across Japan were more than happy to pitch in and help out, but now let’s see what others are saying online:
“They’re relying on consumers again?! Did they take any measures to prevent this last time?”
“Make butter! Isn’t this easy?”
“Unlike last year, I don’t think people are as willing to cooperate.”
“Give it away for free. It’s not our mistake.”
“Make it into butter and cheese that can be used to help lower the rising food prices.”
“Customers aren’t stupid. They have to make it more attractive if they want us to buy.”
“Sorry, I’ve developed lactose intolerance.”
”If the government really wants to help, why don’t they lift the sales tax on milk?”
“Donate it to homeless people.”
“I’d tell them to produce less, but now I’m worried about future shortages because of the war.”
“Make ice cream. You can store that for a long time.”
It seems many others are also not keen on upping their milk intake this time around. There were some good ideas too, like donating it or temporarily lifting sales tax to encourage buying, though it looks like the government isn’t eager to foot the bill for either.
In response to the demands to make butter and ice cream, if this situation is the same as last time, then dairy products are probably again already working overtime to make the most of this glut. Also in defense of the dairy producers, milk production is a highly natural process that is heavily influenced by the climate and natural disasters. So, an especially bountiful spring combined with the lack of milk consumption at schools during the year-end and Golden Week vacations, can potentially put them in a bind.
Still, these aren’t unprecedented problems like the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic last were, and it seems like there should have been some contingency in place by now.
Perhaps sensing this resistance, programs have already begun to sweeten the deal of consuming more milk. Seven Premium milk, the store brand of 7-Eleven convenience stores, has immediately been reduced by 20 yen per liter until April 3.
Also, to illustrate how they too have been active in the effort, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have constructed a small house out of 1,700 cartons of milk that ministry staff have been drinking over the past three months. The house stands in the ministry cafeteria, which is also open to the public and currently serving dairy products such as annin tofu and pudding.
▼ A news report on the milk carton house
Sources: FNN Online Prime, My Game News Flash
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