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Japanese government calling on citizens to drink more milk…again

By SoraNews24

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

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japanese PM’s call to drink more milk successful, mass disposal averted

-- Shizuoka Prefecture may lose title of Japan’s top tea producer to rising star Kagoshima

-- Where’s my Christmas cake?! Seasonal celebrations threatened by nationwide butter shortage

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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If only milk is straight from cow/buffalo/goat, it's got pure full benefits, otherwise there are better alternatives.

Westerners are already turning into Almond/Coconut milk, Oat milk, Lactose Vegan milk, etc. They are also slowly getting used to with the ghee (influenced by Asian recipe). You can just make it at home with unsalted butter esp. Lurpak brand

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

In addition, one may consider Milk is also good for health, (healthy bones, teeth . . .)


1 ( +7 / -6 )

How about learning how to make a decent tasting cheddar cheese with any milk glut? It wouldn't cost us a fortune to buy, and we could stop eating the rubbery crap that's in most supermarkets.

34 ( +34 / -0 )

However, it would seem that instead of learning their lesson, the dairy industry is once again asking us to bail them out.

The LDP can be counted on to leap into action with amazing, unprecedented speed when business associations need bailouts.

Compare that to the discussions, studies, surveys and meetings when it is a question of workers in trouble.

23 ( +23 / -0 )

I have just now drank a cold glass of Co-op 3.6% butterfat ミルク...delicious!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

“Sorry, I’ve developed lactose intolerance.”

LOL! Great online comments. :-)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If you want to drink more milk, go for it Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. However, you do not have the right or the power to make anyone drink or eat more of anything. Drink more milk.... I drink Soy Milk old Ministry people.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

It would help if they would make more fat free (or at least low fat) alternatives and actually stock them in stores.

The fat free ones usually sell out the quickest, yet they overload the shelves with the other run of the mill brands.

Learn what your customers prefer.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The reason is that a large amount of surplus of milk is at risk of going unused and therefore disposed of.

ever heard of turning it into cheese?

I love drinking milk and would love to comply with the government's call only if they sell milk at a lower price.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Hand it out to children's cafes and any foodbanks there are in Japan.

fwiw, I do think milk (all dairy in fact) is expensive and would probably drink more if it were cheaper. We usually buy pasteurized, so pay an extra premium for that.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Cut your prices. Give it away to those in need. And learn how to manage your business. Problem solved.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

The rigidity of thinking shown here by the dairy industry and the government is just comical.

How frustrating is this place sometimes?!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

NOT TO WORRY the government subsidies will bail them out again. obviously these farmers or producers have ZERO production controls in place and ZERO marketing strategy, this is what happened when the government babysits an industry.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Shame on the government to encourage gluttony! Let the market adjust itself by lowering prices till a balance is achieved.

Milk and dairy products are not eco,-sustainable nor are as healthy as a plant based diet.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I think they need to diversify, cheese and yogurt is an absolute joke here, massive opportunity awaits.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

dairy products are probably again already working overtime to make the most of this glut

So when are we going to see this glut of reasonably-priced, good cheese (not the plastic stuff) and butter on the supermarket shelves?

Good cheddar takes months I know, but soft cheeses like camembert, brie, etc., can be on the shelves in a matter of weeks, Mozzarella is virtually instant. Three months and counting, and the only government policy is 'please drink more milk'?.

Cream is still well over 400 yen a carton.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

My body cannot tolerate milk anymore. I think a lot of people no longer like to drink milk and instead choose other options. They should make milk products like cheese, ice cream, butter, yogurt etc.

From what i heard the US use to also had this problem. They made cheese out of it and export tons of them to poor countries that could use them. Plenty of countries out there that wouldn't t mind taking them. From what i read these days, there is a large amount of food shortages going on in Africa and the middle east.

Another option is just add the milk to all the school lunch meal. Kids usually drink them anyway. It also help them grow healthy.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Well said, Tokyo-m. And it’s not just the cruelty to the cows that made me turn away from eating dairy. There’s antibiotics in them and cow growth hormones. It’s not fit for human consumption, and still hasn’t been ruled out as a risk factor for breast cancer and PCOS in women.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Maybe they could learn how to make some decent cheese, and put the milk to good use in that. Japanese cheese is terrible and the imported stuff is expensive and in miniscule proportions.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The only time I drink milk these days is in my coffee. It's soy milk for me otherwise. The worst part about this is that the farmers won't lose any money -- the government will easily just give them more subsidies to keep repeating this mistake (so of course they haven't learned). It'll be up to the independent companies that sell it to reduce prices, not the farmers doing it or the government pitching in, but I doubt in most cases prices will go down. Will they make cheese, butter, and what not instead as people have suggested? Nope. Too much effort, and they make a fortune off their butter being in short supply and heaping 400% tariffs on NZ or other butter. And why make REAL cheese when people here are more than happy to eat plastic cubes or triangles?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Why not use the surplus supply to try to make decent dairy products lile cheese, butter etc.? That way they can go through a proper trial and error and give the public some quality cheese and butter instead of the crap they're currently pushing at supermarkets. They can also use the supply to give us more types of milk - whole, low fat, skim milk, lactose free etc. Truly, the diary products in Japan are atrocious and limited.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

So typical! They are encouraging people to drink milk for economic purposes. The health benefits are not even mentioned.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Humans are the only mammal that drink milk after weaning, and they drink a milk from another animal. It is so unhealthy in so many ways. For health and vitality, there are so many alternatives.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

No problem here. My better half always says I’m like a kid when it comes to drinking milk, especially with cake or cookies.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

All this cheap milk is awesome, we're having baths in it, does wonders for your skin.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

“Make butter! Isn’t this easy?”

I'm wondering why do people think you can make butter out of carton milk? LOL

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Exactly! I'll travel and pay more just to get imported cheese, fortunately the choice is growing. Japanese cheese is dire

How about learning how to make a decent tasting cheddar cheese with any milk glut? It wouldn't cost us a fortune to buy, and we could stop eating the rubbery crap that's in most supermarkets.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I drink a couple of liters of milk a day, every day. Been that way my whole life and I am pretty old now. It's not dinner without a nice cold glass of milk.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Strange news. The rest of the world has serious milk shortages and international prices are up 1.2-1.7%.

I love milk a lot. I only buy organic expensive milk.

I have been to many dairy farms. It is like animal torture. Never seen a cow wandering around in a field in Japan except one time in Daiso, Kyushu.

dairy milk is also, along with mushrooms, one of the most dangerous products continuously contaminated from Fukushima Daichi NPP disaster. That is why milk is mixed from different prefectures to hide the original origin.

but the health benefits of milk are excellent.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm surprised no one mentioned Starbucks. They serve more milk than coffee. Maybe if they reduced their prices and didn't burn their coffee beans, more people would buy their drinks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you have so much of it, start giving it away.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Funny when people complain about Starbucks yet they are always crowded with customers and are everywhere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm wondering why do people think you can make butter out of carton milk? 

I'm wondering why you think the farmers are extracting 'carton milk' from their cows?

The recommendation is not to pasteurise it to death and pack it into cartons, but to use the fresh milk to make cheese, butter and cream. Please.

All this cheap milk is awesome

Where are you finding all this cheap milk? The prices haven't changed, if anything they're up. Again.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The good and tasty ones, bottled milk from those road stations, cheese and butter etc, they are all much too expensive, sold to unrealistic moon prices. There are very good products, but who can afford them regularly? And on top of that, the drink-more-milk-campaigns, that cost another big extra amount and drive up the price even further, or do you think those campaign projects , advertisements or TV broadcasts make it all much cheaper? No, that goes on top of the sale price, what else.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have to go to Costco to buy the large bricks of Kirkland Aged Cheddar once a month. Yes, I like cheese. The Japanese brands are expensive and small in size (which isn't a surprise). If they were serious about selling more dairy, they should sell larger blocks of cheddar.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Honestly this is such a bizarre move by the government on so many levels as seen by the comments from netizens in the article.

Why are the voicing out for the milk industry specifically?

Why do they think people will just obey and go out and buy milk?

Just... why??? I have so many questions...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Times have changed, JA. You think consumers are just open wallets responsible for making you profitable? So pathetic that they are still trying it on. Cartel capitalism distorts the market. So go away, sit down and plan a change to your business model. You can ...

cut production and turn some of the pasture over to oats, soy, almonds or whatever is climate appropriate in the area, and start upping production of plant products which can be cheaper, healthier and more sustainable

get off your butts and use the cheaper yen to build exports (at reasonable prices), or better still aid donations of the surplus as butter, cheese, dried milk. All those countries hosting refugees, unlike you Japan, could do with a hand right now. Send it to Romania, Poland, Jordan, Turkey ...

accept lower profit margins and cut prices to stimulate domestic consumption.

learn how to produce decent cheese.

stockpile butter for Christmas. You can do it for whale meat for years, so butter should be no probs for a year or two.

Gosh, working that out was tough, and took me over five minutes to think of and write down a proposal... And they can use mine for free.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Isn't there a butter and cheese shortage in Japan that makes butter cost an arm and a leg?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Plant-based milk for me. Unnatural for a cow to lactate every day of her life. The dairy industry can be one of the cruelest.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I drank so much milk last week that I started smelling like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. My friends said it was udderly incredible.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If you do drink milk, it’s best to buy organic, or grass-fed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh behave yourselves, Ministry of Farm Subsidies.

How long did this alleged First-World country put up with a butter shortage a few years ago?

The LDP is so beholden to agricultural misrepresentation that they let an Olympic Host city go without a basic foodstuff rather than tell farmers to start farming like it's not 1970 any more.

If you're thinking about throwing stuff away, turn it into butter and chees, which a lot of people apparently enjoy.

Not me however. Margaret Thatcher stopped my school forcing warm cow juice down my throat in 1973, and I have blessed her name ever since. It's horrible stuff, fit only to work as a shortcut in films to establish someone as a baddie.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It seems like MAFF couldn't organize a milk drinking contest in a dairy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How about learning how to make a decent tasting cheddar cheese with any milk glut? It wouldn't cost us a fortune to buy, and we could stop eating the rubbery crap that's in most supermarkets

Spot on and to your point, I had a burrito the other day from a very famous Mexican restaurant in the city and while the quality of the burrito was excellent, the establishment uses 3 different kinds of cheeses and one of those was as you mentioned the infamous “rubbery cheese” and after ingesting this burrito I did felt a bit nauseous after that. I know a lot of Japanese that swear by that cheese, but outside Japan in the West there are hundreds of beautiful luscious and tasty real cheese out there that the Japanese could use and import that would transform and make any food where cheese is called for taste great. Cheese is food that should be loved, admired and respected, it’s not a visual or colorful garnish FFS.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Milk demand is going to continue to decline, this is a short term solution. Ie unsustainable.

It’s time to let some of these big dairies fail and either downsize, pivot to something else or close down.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They are really milking it !

A lacto vegetarian field day.

And no milk isnt a vegetable.

Anyway -not many lactose intolerance in Japan because of the plethora of probiotic and fermented foods here.

Make evaporated milk or dehydrated milk .

Seaweed is way better for healthy teeth and bones.

Raising food prices and encouraging the public to purchase more is unkind.

Milk is fattening gluttonous gaseous and cholesterol artery clogging .

Best used with coffee or tea.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@factchecker, the problem with your idea - and it's a good one, to a degree - is that Japanese cheese sucks. Every year I've visited Japan (2011-2018) I've shopped at grocery stores with friends and on my own in convenience stores. There is no such thing as good Japanese cheese. So says this Canadian who buys Canadian, French, German and English cheeses. If you want to eat the food equivalent of paste or glue, buy Japanese cheese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Milk is fattening gluttonous gaseous and cholesterol artery clogging .

That's old science. More recent science is finding that's not true:

The study's findings, which were published in the International Journal of Obesity, show that people with the genetic factors needed to break down lactase had lower levels of both HDL (“good”) and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol compared to people who did not have milk-digesting genes.

The researchers proposed that people who are able to digest milk well are more likely to drink milk than people who do not digest it as well. In fact, the odds of consuming milk were higher among people who had the gene for breaking down lactose than people who did not have the gene.

Researchers then made a connection between milk intake and cholesterol levels: The people with the gene for digesting lactose drank more milk and had lower cholesterol levels than people who did not have the gene and, presumably, drank less milk.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Please, make chocolate as well like Switzerland once did in similar circumstances.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For a good, extra sharp cheddar cheese, it takes one year of aging - which is perfect for using excess milk and it gives plenty of time for the marketing arms of cheese producers to get the word out. Getting cheddar cheese in Japan is difficult enough, sharp and extra sharp cheddar is like finding hen's teeth.

Otherwise, Japan's cheese 'selection' consists of rubbery slices of Velveeta like quality, 'pizza' cheese with some concoction of something like mozzarella that is shredded and overpackaged wasabi cheese. Wasabi cheese is good, the rest of the cheese in Japan is severely lacking.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

While at the same time increasing prices....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Better ask cows to stop overproducing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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