Japan Agribusiness Report Q1 2015

Business Monitor International
December 31, 2014
82 Pages - SKU: BMI5432517
Countries covered: Japan

Japan Agribusiness Report Q1 2015

BMI View: Despite the government's acknowledgement that the country's agricultural sector is in need ofreform and transformation, we believe that the piecemeal policies adopted and the lack of compromise ininternational free trade talks points to the gap between rhetoric and action. Indeed, Japan'suncompromising stance in maintaining tariffs on imported rice, wheat, beef, pork, dairy and sugar - thecountry's sacred farm products list - might prove costly in the long run. With an ageing farmer population(the average age of a Japanese farmer is close to 70 years old) coupled with highly inefficient farmingmethods - usually constrained by the small plots of family run farms - it is no wonder why the agricultureemployment is shrinking so rapidly. According to official figures, people engaged in farming in Japan fellby 22.3% from 2005 to 2010 to reach 747,000. The Japanese agriculture industry faces a bleak future if itdoes not reinvent itself.

There are however, green shoots in the midst of this, as illustrated by the rise of more public-private jointventures in the agriculture space such as the new subsidiary of Sojitz Corp and Toyo Reizo Co (an affiliatewith Mitsubishi Corp) which will have large-scale cultivation of greenhouse vegetables and blue fin tunarespectively in cooperation with agricultural cooperatives. A proliferation of Information andCommunications Technology (ICT) use in agriculture should also bode well for the industry in helping itbecome more efficient. Indeed, an increasing number of Japanese ICT firms are introducing cloud-basedfield monitoring systems as well as information portals for farmers. These firms include NEC Corp, theJapanese electronics giant which works with Nepon Inc to develop user-friendly greenhouse monitoringsystems. Another ICT-based collaboration is that of one between Nippon Telegraph and Telephone EastCorp which began testing a farm monitoring system using long-distance wireless communicationtechnology.



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