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Some rice farmers see TPP as window of opportunity

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I understand globalization is something we must face, but I’m not confident

Well, there is problem number one, no confidence. Gotta believe or you've already lost.

89% of respondents claimed they would continue to buy Japanese rice

So what are farmers worried about?

If the TPP is introduced, Japanese rice would be defeated by foreign rice. There is no doubt about it,” said Takashi Ogino

Problem number 2, defeatist attitude.

This last summer the wife and I visited San Francisco and the San Joaquin Valley. Lots of rice grown in California. Japonica rice. We bought a 2 kg bag from I think Takahashi Farms, brought it back to Japan and had a little taste test with her family. I called it "Find the Foreign Rice." They lost.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

As a consumer in Japan for 10 years I was sickened at the protectionism the Japanese agricultural sector enjoys. Now back in a country that has almost no protection whatsoever from the actual value of it's products I can only urge Japan to be rational and follow suit.

Join the TPP! Increase your efficiency and let consumers enjoy products at their real price!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Export Japanese rice? A difficult proposition post-Fukushima, isn't it?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

yes, if japan had confidence in is products (they say their rice is the most tasty) whats the problem with the TPP? japan only thinks of what will be imported. why oh why dont they even think about export?? no confidence. people will find that the quality is a sham? please, japan, have confidence.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

“Our inward-focused farm policies have only led to a decline in competitiveness and accelerated the greying of the industry,” he told AFP

Captures the essence of much more of Japan than just rice farming. Hope it is not too late for Japan to make the needed changes and become truly competitive again on a global basis.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The only thing good about Japanese rice is that it is sticky which is good for a sushi base. Other than that it tastes like bland chalk. Give me Thai rice any day. By the way, the Thai rice I buy does not seem to have that 800% tariff attached.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I know it's difficult for Japanese. This new generation doesn't know how to do a great number of things. They are certainly not interested in getting their hands dirty in mud and soil. They have resigned themeselves to the life of the convenience store.

The mindset: The world will provide us with imported food and wonderful goods for the rest of our lives. Rice is pretty much the last pillar that needs to fall. There will always be Japanese rice but it's time for things to change. WE (Japanese and the World) have always known that the day is coming when this small island country would not be able to stand on it's own.

With the TPP the colonization will be almost complete. An influx of new products, a change in advertising and media, a new life that begets a new culture......a Western culture. TPP will bring this new culture that will force new ideas and change education. Give it 20 more years and soon all lessons will be taught in English. Oh HAPPY DAY!!

The TPP opens the flood gates but at the same time will bring much needed relief to a Japanese society that wants to be like the rest of the world. May Oyagi and his old ideas be washed away in the flood that is Commercialism and Westernism. Sign the TPP and let the healing begin.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Point missed , Joning the TPP everybody is relating to the farmers, I don't think this is the problem. Imagine how much power JA would lose, also in controlling those certain politicians it got elected. I think these two the JA and those politicians are the ones who don't want to join the TPP, because it would strip them of their power within the establishment. The article is about one farmer Osama Tamaki, 32 years old, who is a visionary of the farming future of Japan. How many more young farmers like him share that vision. There is so much farming land uncultivated in japan,just lying there doing nothing.Even the government is trying to promote the farmers to develop larger scale operations. Well done Tamaki san for standing up to be counted among the young famers. Although I think you probably gained a few enemies within the JA,the older farming comunity ,those politicians lobbying for the farmers against the TPP and I would think some of the media in the process. Noda san you have voice within these young farmers, I hope you notice and listen.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

If Japanese rice and other products are so superior,why worry about the competition.Anyway,Trying to make Fried rice,Paella is a nightmare with the stuff.Not to mention the Carb content.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

That's something I never understood either. Japanese rice is the best in the world, therefore we will not try to compete with any other form of rice. We Japanese like the taste of Japanese rice and therefore never want to try another kind of rice in order to compare flavours. Nor will we make any other kind of rice available, as nobody would buy it, which would simultaneously be dangerous for Japanese farmers.

It's like me deciding the first girl I ever kissed was the most beautiful in the world and therefore never trying to get me hands on another one. Or that my mum's knockers were the only ones I'd tried age 2 weeks, so never trying to see a different set.

Mouse to be found in imported rice in 5...4...3...

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Half of those farmers are aged over 65, while more than 70% have second jobs, partially due to a rice acreage reduction policy aimed at sustaining falling rice prices, which resulted in a growing number of abandoned rice fields.

This is the result of protectionist policies. Reduce production to keep prices high. This not only makes rice farming less efficient, it is wasteful. If Japanese rice competed with foreign rice, the opposite would happen. Increase production efficiency so that costs are lower and can then sustain lower prices.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Not only Japan but ALL Asians are very picky about rice. Protective?? You bet!!

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Refreshing to see a Rice farmer able to see a future in the Global economy. The current system/s are unsustainable, even the JA must recognize that! They seem intent on squeezing as much cash as they can out of it before it all collapses then blame everything on Gaiijin.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I share the same vision of mr. Osamu.

And I say more. Japanese rice is a special type of rice. If you want to cook gohan, you use japanese rice. If you want western recipes, japanese rice is not made for that.

For example. In Brazil, almost everyone eats rice and beans every day. But the recipe uses another type of rice with small grains and that when cooked it doesnt glue, it keeps untied.

This rice would never reach japanese table because you can not cook gohan with it.

I think the japanese could use propaganda to spread its recipes to the rest of the world. And together, sell japanese good quality rice.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan always harps on about the quality of there Agriculture products to justify the excessive prices, the last ten years has seen mad cow, foot in mouth, bird flu outbreaks, food mislabeling scams & now radiation contamination, there are plenty of other countries that have virtually no diseases eg Australia, NZ and there products are much cheaper. Japan farmers (1% of GDP $50billion in subsidies per annum) need to stop being selfish and realise that the majority are not farmers but manufacturers that actually make revenue for the government in taxes, if they decide to go to cheaper countries to make there products then its goodye Japan inc. Joining the TPP is basically Japans last chance to revive there economy, miss the boat and be left behind for good!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

um just for the record-Aust. price of rice is pretty much on par with Japan so you can forget that argument.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"With the TPP the colonization will be almost complete. An influx of new products, a change in advertising and media, a new life that begets a new culture......a Western culture."

Why change Japanese Culture to Western Culture.... TPP is an american plot to help their bad economy and control asia that sooner or later they will depend on. Japanese culture is Japans' identity. No need to change. If ever Japan join TPP, watch out for the quota and what Japan can only export. Philippines was one of the top exporters of rice many moons ago until it embraced western culture and join the trade globalization. Now Philippines imports their rice.

I still believed Japanese produced rice are good. As for the prices saying expensive, blame it on the greedy japanese middle men. Farmers don't control prices of their produced. It's the greedy businessmen and their lobbyist in the diet.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

um just for the record-Aust. price of rice is pretty much on par with Japan so you can forget that argument.

Aussie rice costs as much as Japanese rice? You have to be kidding. Unless you mean the cost of Aussie rice in Japan. And that's because of the tariffs. Anyway I'm not sure Aussie grows Japanese type rice, but local rice is very cheap in Aussie.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

for the record-Aust. price of rice is pretty much on par with Japan so you can forget that argument

You got a citation for this? Because it sounds implausible, to put it generously.

Also, not a comparison with Japan, but Aus rice prices are low compared seven of these eight countries

http://www.dailyfinance.com/photos/food-price-comparison-around-the-world/3656023/

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Some rice farmers see TPP as window of opportunity........................

mix all the " radiation " rice with " healthy " rice and export them all over the world where the safety standard is low.

problem solved. What an opportunity !!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"A poll this month by the Yomiuri Shimbun showed 89% of respondents claimed they would continue to buy Japanese rice, even if vastly cheaper imports were available."

There you go, Kamei and other panickers (or feigning panickers!). As many have said and been saying for a while, the introduction of the TPP would not lead to any change in the Japanese way of thinking that 'made in Japan is best'. I would without a doubt buy imported, because personally I think Thai, Basmati, Jasmine, and even Wild Rice from North America (mixed in with regular rice) taste FAR better than the bland and unhealthy (at least in terms of digestion) white rice you get here. But again that won't change a Japanese person from stopping after three chews to close their eyes and say, "Umai' if you told them the rice is from Japan. (could also lead to a whole lot more 'blind' taste testing shows to see if people really CAN tell the difference!).

Anyway, I'm glad there are some farmers who are looking forward and thinking ahead instead of the naysayers that follow who suffer from a lack of confidence and defeatism (as another poster pointed out).

I think what the latter people are afraid of is simply change -- they would have to alter their strategies and target different customers to remain competitive with the government bailing them out via protectionism and other measures. They want to remain in the past, while other nations around them embrace the future.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

To TPP or not to TPP, as long as I can get my Japanese rice which I have been eating for almost six decades, it's no problem. For Japan, ASEAN plus 6 would be better though since it will have a much larger market than TPP itself.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In not religious, but there is one biblical scripture that says somthing like this: "it is best to lose an eye or a hand than to lose the whole body"... that means, unfortunately, the rice agriculture sector must be sacrificed so that Japan's economy may have a better way of recovery... the same happened to Korea... for, what really brings profit to the country? Rice or manufactured goods??? May Japanese people think logic and reasonable...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@illsayit I wasnt just refering to rice I was talking about all Japanese agricultural products being overpriced. two things that should always be affordable to the public is food & healthcare.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It could be a real opportunity for Japanese farmers to diversify. After all, Japanese consumers will diversify their interests in the next few decades, once they realise that they are left behind. Produce cheaper Fuji apples here by intensifying their production (instead of wasting the space for rice which no one needs). After all, more than 130 yen for one apple is far more overpriced than Japanese rice can ever be.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seems 89% of Japanese need to get their heads checked.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

NetNinjaNov. 28, 2011 - 08:59AM JST

With the TPP the colonization will be almost complete. An influx of new products, a change in advertising and media, a new life that begets a new culture......a Western culture. TPP will bring this new culture that will force new ideas and change education....

NetNinja: Very interesting point of view you have there, and is probably be true to an extent, but maybe not as much as you think, or as quickly as you think. IMHO, there is already a s-load of common products made cheap overseas and bought by Japanese consumers (ie. clothing, electronics, and ingredients for many prepared foods). I don't think the TPP wil change Japan as much as you say it will.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

smithinjapanNov. 28, 2011 - 04:04PM JST

I would without a doubt buy imported, because personally I think Thai, Basmati, Jasmine, and even Wild Rice from North America (mixed in with regular rice) taste FAR better than the bland and unhealthy (at least in terms of digestion) white rice you get here. But again that won't change a Japanese person from stopping after three chews to close their eyes and say, "Umai' if you told them the rice is from Japan.

smithinjapan: Do you blame them for liking Japanese rice over others? They've been eating the stuff since they were kids. I think it's a perfectly natural preference.

On the other hand, I'm sure there will be many people like you who prefer other types of rice, or don't care where the rice comes from, as long as it tastes decent and is cheap. I think a lot of Japanese people say they like rice made in Japan because truthfully very few other countries make rice similar to Japanese rice. And I'm sure if your average Japanese tried some rice similar to Japanese rice, but made in say, California, they would find it just as suitable to their pallets as Japanese rice (as 100million n U won? mentioned in the very first post).

When most Japanese people say "Japanese rice is the best", I think what they mean to say is "I like Japanese rice the most", which I think is a perfectly normal personal preference, and not for anyone to criticize; just like you and your preference for Thai rice.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Tahoochi: "smithinjapan: Do you blame them for liking Japanese rice over others? They've been eating the stuff since they were kids. I think it's a perfectly natural preference."

Relax, my friend. Where does 'blame' come into this? I merely stated that the Japanese prefer Japanese rice, and that I think the reason is simply because it is made in Japan. I've seen variety shows where they do taste tests on certain items such as Hokkaido crab or special rice and the people couldn't tell the difference between actual Hokkaido crab and the minced pollock you can buy at a supermarket for a hundred yen. It's the IDEA of where it's from, that I have the problem with.

"On the other hand, I'm sure there will be many people like you who prefer other types of rice, or don't care where the rice comes from, as long as it tastes decent and is cheap."

I prefer other types of rice because they taste better. It's not a matter of price, though I would appreciate the tariffs being lifted and rice being sold at actual prices instead of 800% the regular price so the government can save a few old men in Japan who 'don't have confidence' to change. And actually, I care very much where rice comes from these days. For example, I check my rice very carefully to make sure it does not come from anywhere within the Tohoku area -- it is now cheaper than other areas, but since you said I don't care about anything but cost I thought I'd point out I care about safety, too. And 'made in Japan' these days.... well...

"I think a lot of Japanese people say they like rice made in Japan because truthfully very few other countries make rice similar to Japanese rice."

You need to qualify that: A lot of Japanese people like rice made in Japan simply because it is made in Japan. Please tell me what is so special about Japanese polished white rice? I can tell you how it hurts you physically, although genmai is very good for you.

"And I'm sure if your average Japanese tried some rice similar to Japanese rice, but made in say, California, they would find it just as suitable to their pallets as Japanese rice"

But if told it were made in California you'd still hear a, "not as good as Japanese rice". Then you could say you were joking, and that's it's Japanese and you'd hear, "Yappari, Umai!". I'm exaggerating a bit there, but I'm serious about the taste test shows and people knowing no different between over-priced, domestic products and imported, cheap goods when the people tasting had no form of identifying the food. Much of Japan is about presentation, and I'm sorry, but that's fact. Why do you think so many companies mislabel?

"When most Japanese people say "Japanese rice is the best", I think what they mean to say is "I like Japanese rice the most","

It's pretty obvious that stating something is superior means you like it more than anything else. Why you need to paraphrase it for your own means is beyond me. And yet, you still seem fit to claim that personal preference is okay and just before that 'many people like you... as long as it tastes decent and is cheap'.

Which parts of your hypocrisy would you like to address next?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tahoochi: Anyway, as usual, you missed the whole point: people are going to continue to buy rice made in Japan simply because it is made in Japan, bottom line. It has nothing to do with taste, or cost, clearly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tahoochi: "(quoting myself) Anyway, as usual, you missed the whole point: people are going to continue to buy rice made in Japan simply because it is made in Japan, bottom line."

Actually, I meant to say people will continue to buy Japanese rice and claim it is the most delicious so long as 'Japanese rice' is written on it, be it on with a magic marker or not.

Farmers like the man in this article, who see the TPP as a chance to move forward, are the future Japan should embrace, instead of the fear they should avoid (and destroy themselves further).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I merely stated that the Japanese prefer Japanese rice, and that I think the reason is simply because it is made in Japan.

And I am saying that the reason Japanese people prefer rice made in Japan is they don't think that anyone else makes rice like Japan does. The exception that I know of is California rice (which contrary to your opinion, I think even the most hardcore "old-schoolers" would say is similar, if not better than some Japanese rice). Japanese people don't eat Hokkaido crab everyday, nor do they eat "Kani-kama" everyday. But they do eat Japanese style rice everyday, and you can bet your bottom dollar that they can tell Thai, Basmati, Jasmine, and Wild Rice from Japanese rice. It's not the quality that's different, it's the type that's different.... and that's what most Japanese prefer because they grew up eating it.

but since you said I don't care about anything but cost I thought I'd point out I care about safety, too.

I realize you like your Thai and other rice because of the taste because that's what you said in your post. Here's what I said:

On the other hand, I'm sure there will be many people like you who prefer other types of rice, or don't care where the rice comes from, as long as it tastes decent and is cheap.

There were no negative connotations intended here, and I apologize if you felt I was putting words into your mouth; all I meant by this was that some others including Japanese people will prefer other types of rice for reasons other than my argument, and that my argument does not apply to every person who eats rice in Japan.

A lot of Japanese people like rice made in Japan simply because it is made in Japan. Please tell me what is so special about Japanese polished white rice?

Again, the reason why they like rice made in Japan simply because it's made in Japan is because of the fact that Thailand does not make Japanese rice. Basmati rice is NOT Japanese rice. It's BASMATI rice. Jasmine rice is a completely different grain than Japanese rice. None of these other types of rice you mentioned are the same type of rice as Japanese rice. You are saying there is no premise as to why many Japanese folks say they like rice made in Japan other than the fact that it's made in Japan. I say there is a premise, and that is because Japanese rice is different.

And yet, you still seem fit to claim that personal preference is okay and just before that 'many people like you... as long as it tastes decent and is cheap'. Which parts of your hypocrisy would you like to address next

Again Smith, the "I'm sure there will be many people like you who prefer other types of rice" statement was not in connection with "or don't care where the rice comes from, as long as it tastes decent and is cheap.".... there was an "OR" in there, not an "AND". I was simply pointing out that there are also other reasons people might prefer certain rice than the ones you or I point out.

"When most Japanese people say "Japanese rice is the best", I think what they mean to say is "I like Japanese rice the most","

It's pretty obvious that stating something is superior means you like it more than anything else. Why you need to paraphrase it for your own means is beyond me.

Well, when you say things like this:

personally I think Thai, Basmati, Jasmine, and even Wild Rice from North America (mixed in with regular rice) taste FAR better than the bland and unhealthy (at least in terms of digestion) white rice you get here. But again that won't change a Japanese person from stopping after three chews to close their eyes and say, "Umai' if you told them the rice is from Japan.

.....You came across to me as mocking the fact that Japanese people like Japanese rice because it's made in Japan as if "you know better". Well, I guess what I was trying to say was: "What is wrong with that?"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

smithinjapanNov. 29, 2011 - 01:26AM JST

Actually, I meant to say people will continue to buy Japanese rice and claim it is the most delicious so long as 'Japanese rice' is written on it, be it on with a magic marker or not.

I disagree. Put Thai grain rice in a bag with "Made in Japan" on it, and people intending to buy Japanese grain rice will know the difference.... but again, I'm not saying that Thai rice is lower in quality or Japanese rice is higher, I'm saying they're a different rice altogether.

Farmers like the man in this article, who see the TPP as a chance to move forward, are the future Japan should embrace, instead of the fear they should avoid (and destroy themselves further).

I agree.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The "problem" with rice is that it is a low value commodity. Free Japanese farmers and support them in moving into higher value production. For example there is no reason on earth for Japan to produce cheap rice while importing expensive canola.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NetNinjaNov. 28, 2011 - 08:59AM JST

[spiel]

You seem to be implying that Japan exports absolutely nothing and that all of their industries depend on extreme protectionism to keep them alive. You also seem to be implying that Japanese culture is an endangered species.

These assumptions of yours could not be further from the truth. I will not even bother to give every little example, I am sure everyone on this website is well aware about Japan's exporting prowess, both in manufactured goods and culture.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

um the last I went shopping I believe it was pretty much on par....30kg of rice for around 8000yen....I heard 10kg at woolies was around $15......now those who like to count their pennys are nothing but penny pinchers, but to me that pretty much averages the same, whats 5-10 dollars? Your quotes arent even interesting enough to make me look-Yous are all just forming a argument-I like to see how yous form it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@illsayit you math suxs 30kg at 8000yen about $106 and 10kg@$15 thats less than half price and have you shopped at Aldi rice is cheaper there again . then lets not even mention fruit & vegetables price differences. the quicker the TPP is signed the better off Japan will be, need to get rid of those $50 billion subsidized blood sucking parasite farmers asap

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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