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JCP agricultural revitalization policy warmly discussed in Akita


gThe Japanese Communist Party policy, if enacted, will greatly help revitalize Japanfs agriculture, in particular in rice production,h said a participant in a symposium held on April 20 by the JCP Central Committee in Daisen City, Akita, a major rice producing prefecture.


JCP Chair Shii Kazuo took part in the discussion with three other panelists.


The city is well-known for producing the popular variety of rice gAkita Komachi.h Although it is the season for farmers to prepare to plant rice seeds, about 850 farmers and consumers, including executive members of agricultural cooperative unions, local governments, and agricultural committees, joined the meeting.


Daisen Cityfs Mayor Kuribayashi Tsugumi said, gBecause agriculture and local communities cannot survive without a drastic change, I wanted to learn more about the JCP policy.h


Odashima Hiroshi from the Obako Agricultural Cooperative Union in Akita City stressed, gWe need to establish income security for farmers in order to sustain Japanfs agriculture, the very basis for maintaining the physical and mental health of humans.h


Takahashi Yasuo from a farm in Yokote City said, gWe are trying hard to ensure that young people will want to continue in farming, but we are still in debt. We need constant public support to survive as farmers.h


Kato Yoshimasa, Iwate Prefectural Cooperative Union head, said, gThe issue of food and agriculture is not just a matter of concern among farmers, it matters to everyone.h


JCP Chair Shii said that amid the global food crisis the JCP published a plan for the revitalization of the nationfs agriculture by focusing on how to increase Japanfs food self-sufficiency rate, which now stands at 39 percent, and specifically the self-sufficiency rate of cereals (27 percent).


Pointing out that Japanfs massive grain imports is exacerbating global hunger, Shii saud that the effort to increase the countryfs food self-sufficiency rate is a matter to be dealt with without delay.


Referring to the fact that Japan is fulfilling its obligation imposed by the World Trade Organization to import at least 7.2 percent of the total domestic rice market volume, Shii stressed the need to end such mandatory imports citing the cases of Western countries that have not fulfilled such obligations on numerous items.

- Akahata, April 21, 2008


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