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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 May 18 - 24  > Japan should increase its food self-sufficiency rate to contribute to ending world hunger
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2022 May 18 - 24 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Japan should increase its food self-sufficiency rate to contribute to ending world hunger

May 23, 2022

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has recently announced that a record 276 million people were living on the brink of starvation early this year, more than double the 135 million before the COVID crisis. The WFP warns that Russia's invasion of Ukraine will add another 47 million to the 276 million.

On May 18, a ministerial-level meeting on global food security took place in the United Nations, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on Russia to not hamper Ukraine's grain exports and to have unrestricted access to Russian agricultural products and fertilizers on the world market. At the same time, Guterres appealed to world's governments to provide food aid to developing countries, help them construct basic infrastructure, increase ODA funds, and increase food production in each country.

Japan should positively respond to Guterres' call. Now is the time for Japan to move away from its reliance on food imports to embark on a drastic increase in food production at home. To achieve this, the enhancement of government support for farming is vital.

The Japanese government often says it will "strengthen the country's food security". However, Prime Minister Kishida Fumio in his New Year address did not say anything about improving Japan's food self-sufficiency rate which decreased to a record-low of 37%. The Kishida government leaves the sharp drop in the price of rice as is. Instead, it goes ahead with a massive cutback in government subsidies for paddy field utilization, though this public support is essential in wheat and soy production. It is unacceptable for Japan to reduce domestic production amid an alarming global food shortage.

Japan should focus on agriculture as its key industry and should recover its food self-sufficiency rate to at least 50% as early as possible. By doing this, Japan can contribute to international efforts to eliminate hunger.

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