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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 March 23 - 29  > Kishida gov’t disregarding possible food crisis will pose threat to Japan’s food security
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2022 March 23 - 29 [POLITICS]

Kishida gov’t disregarding possible food crisis will pose threat to Japan’s food security

March 25, 2022
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Japan relies on other countries for more than 60% of its food. Japan’s food insecurity has been highlighted under global warming and the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is seriously affecting food shortages and prices around the world.

Currently, Japan experiences a surge in food prices associated with rising food import costs.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has reported that the world food price index which traces the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities began rising in June 2020 and exceeded the 2014–2016 base level of 100 in February 2022, hitting an all-time high of 140.7. Food supply and demand has become tight throughout the world due to multiple factors, e.g. the pandemic-induced disruption in people’s movement and logistics and poor crops stemming from frequent extreme weather events including heat waves and torrential rainfalls.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has intensified the tight food balance. Amid growing concern over a possible suspension of wheat exports from Russia and Ukraine which accounts for 30% of the world’s wheat exports, the global price of wheat surpassed the level of the 2008 global food crisis. It is believed that wheat prices will continue to rise because Middle Eastern and North African countries, heavy importers of Russian and Ukrainian wheat, will rush for wheat imports from the U.S. and other wheat producing countries and will lead to a competition for food.

Soaring food demand of emerging countries, such as China, has pushed up market prices. The volume of China’s soybean imports has nearly doubled in the past ten years, reaching 100 million tons, two orders of magnitude greater than Japan’s imports of three million tons. This may invite a situation where Japan cannot procure food in the international market.

A stable food supply should be a major priority for the government as it directly affects the nation’s independence. Prime Minister Kishida Fumio in January in his policy speech to the Diet stressed the importance of “economic security” but failed to mention “food security” and the need for an increase in the food self-sufficiency rate. He in fact indicated his stance to promote the trade liberalization policy although this policy has played a major role in destroying Japan’s agriculture and decreasing its food self-sufficiency rate. Under the situation where food shortages and hunger have become a global issue, PM Kishida’s policy line will ruin Japan.
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