A Study of Strategic Themes in the Internationalisation of Japanese Industry
Chapter 7: Agriculture and Food Security
INTRODUCTION Japan has long been the largest net food importer in the world, relying on imports for 60 per cent of its needs, although some farm industries receive protection to bolster food security. Overall, Japan has a comparative disadvantage in agriculture due to the shortage of arable land relative to population and high production costs. Consequently, a range of processed food and beverage industries have invested oﬀshore to secure access to imports and ensure a stable supply chain. In 2005, imports of food were valued at $US50 billion, compared with exports of only $US2 billion. The Japanese forestry, ﬁsheries and agricultural sector includes crop and cattle farms, horticulture and other farms, as well as the ﬁshing industry. These industries have gradually declined in importance compared to the rest of the economy; in 1960 the primary sector employed one third of the workforce, but this share had declined to 4.3 per cent in 2004. Since the 1990s, employment in this sector has been static at around 250,000 including many part-time farmers. Agriculture’s share of GDP declined to 1.2 per cent in 2003 and the ratio of workers aged 65 or older reached almost 60 per cent in 2004 (Management and Coordination Agency, 2006). Japanese Food Security Policies Declining food self-suﬃciency ratios for major food commodities and rising reliance on imports has increased political concerns over food security and the need to maintain food self suﬃciency ratios for strategic food products including rice. The Japanese government has supported...
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