Philippines by yaofenjin


									                     Rice Country Profile for Japan
Japan consists of four main islands with about 4,000 smaller ones. Rice is grown up to
1,400-meter altitude in the central region of the main island.

Japan is in the climate zone characterized as cool subtropics with summer rainfall.
The climate is humid temperate and oceanic with four distinct seasons. Rainfall
during the rainy season in June and July is indispensable to rice cultivation.
Temperature and solar radiation from April to October are ideal for rice growing.

In the north, main planting season is in May-June and harvest is August-September.
In the central area, planting is done in May-June and harvesting in August-September.
In the south, planting is April-May and harvesting is September to November.

The country’s total land area is 36.45 million hectares, only 15% is cultivable. Almost
one-third of the cultivable area has been brought under rice cultivation as of 2006 –
rice paddies occupy most of the countryside, whether on the alluvial plains, the
terraced slopes, or wetlands and coastal bays. In 2007, rice area harvested reached
1.68 million hectares.

Almost all rice is japonica—a short-grain variety widely grown in Northeast Asia.

Production, Consumption and Trade

In 2008, Japan produced 7.9 million metric tons (MMT) of rice; it is one of the
world’s top 10 rice producers. It consumed 8.15 MMT of rice, more than its
production during the period. Still, Japan exported 200 thousand metric and imported
700 metric tons in 2008.

With a population of 127.80 million, the country consumes approximately 62.76
kilograms per person per year while it produces around 61.07 kilograms per person
per year.

In 2007, it registered productivity of 6.54 tons per hectare and an average annual yield
of 6.36 tons per hectare since 2003, the highest productivity among Asian countries.

The average rice farm size is 0.84 hectare per land holding and the average farm size
overall is 1.20 hectares per land holding, based on 2000 census. Of the total rice area
in 2004-2006, 100% is irrigated.

Japan’s production is kept at high levels since agriculture has been maintained
through the use of technologically advanced farm machinery and fertilizers and
through a vast array of price and production subsidies.

Japan integrated scientific breeding and farmers’ varietal selection with the fertilizer
technologies from Europe and the US. This accelerated since the Meizi Restoration in
1868. Japanese farmers bred and selected varieties with semi-dwarf gene both in rice
and wheat. The semi-dwarf gene, named sdl, is common in all high-yielding varieties
(HYVs) in rice, wheat and maize. The sdl gene in semi-dwarf wheat, Nourin 10, was
bred by Dr. Gonjiro Inazuka, which was collected in 1946 by Dr. S.C. Salmon,
technical advisor of the US Army during the Japanese occupation. The Nourin 10 was
the gene source of the Green Revolution initiated by Dr. Norman Borlaug

Labor Force

Of the 127.1 million total population based on FAO 2000 census, 21% is rural
population. Of the 127.8 million total population based on FAO 2004 census, only 3%
is agricultural population. Of the 63.3 million working population based on ILO 2002
census, 4.7% is engaged in agriculture, hunting and forestry, 43% are women. In the
2005 census, out of 66 million labor force, agricultural employment declined further
to 3.8 percent.

There are 2,981 farm households in Japan, 74% are commercial and the rest non-
commercial. Actually there are three types of rice producers in Japan: the part-time
family farm, large-scale family farm and corporate farm; and the group-farming
organization based on the rural communities.

It is now evident that Japan’s rice farm structure will have to evolve to a larger scale.
Japan’s rural areas are said to be losing population and the farm owners are aging.
Even on a part-time basis, they cannot continue operating all of Japan’s small farms.
Private-sector initiatives, such as custom, contract, and cooperative farming, and
public-sector initiatives to consolidate rice paddies into larger fields, are being done.
All these seek to reduce the amount of labor and the number of small machines
needed in rice farming, in order to cut costs.

However, land ownership has not changed much. Households are reluctant to sell the
smallholdings they received during the land reform. The establishment of larger and
fewer farm operations requires the consent of many landowners, and can be a difficult

The longstanding cooperation among farmers is still reflected in strong rural
communities in which an individual farmer’s actions are weighed against the welfare
of the rest of the farmers. This can make it difficult to assemble a large farm operation
and difficult to design government policies that support both small landowners and
large farmers.

Restrictions on ownership of more than 3 hectares of land have been lifted, and
restrictions on renting land (originally designed to thwart the return of landlord
dominance over tenant farmers) have also been eased. Nevertheless, sales of rice land
are relatively infrequent and adjustments through rentals and other arrangements have
not been sufficient to clear the way for large-scale farming.

In 2005, daily agricultural wages ranged from Y8,653 for male and Y6,527 for female

Who controls production and trade

The number of part-time family farms is decreasing because of aging farmers and the
hesitance of the young generation to do farm work. The number of group-farming
organizations, on the other hand, since farmers are encouraged by cooperatives and
personnel of extension services to organize into group farms. The government
meanwhile is pressuring group-farming organizations to form as a corporate farm as
the more suitable economic entity. But many see the former proposal – farmers to
group into group farming – instead of the latter – group-farming to group as corporate
farms – as more likely to happen.

Meanwhile, large-scale family farms and agricultural corporate firms are interested in
increasing their farm sizes and diversifying their business vertically and/or
horizontally. The farm size of large-scale family farms is 10 to 20 hectares, and two
or three family members usually cultivate rice, wheat, soybean, and feed crops. On
the other hand, the farm size of agricultural corporate firms is 50 to 100 hectares, and
their investment in machinery and facilities is three to five times as much as that of
the family farm.

The large-scale family farm mainly aims at expanding rice, wheat, and soybean crop
area to reduce production costs and increase farm income. The agricultural corporate
firms are diversifying their agribusiness and expanding the farm size.

Although they are different, these two types of rice farmers dominate marketing. First,
they sell directly polished rice to consumers or retail stores. Second, some of them
address the issues of organic rice and/or chemicals used in rice since Japanese
consumers have recently paid attention to food safety and to labelling. Third, they are
introducing a traceability system for their products because many Japanese consumers
require information on the quality of rice and its cultivation methods. Finally, they
invite their customers (consumers, retailers) to their farms for interpersonal customer
relations. These Japanese rice producers’ strategies are effective for advantageous
marketing, resulting in higher profitability of rice production.

Government Role

In the early 1950s, land reform divided the rice-growing area into millions of
smallholdings, each less than 3 hectares in size. Many households that had rented
from large landowners received their own land during the reform, and felt that the
new small-scale land tenure system was fair and needed to be defended. But in the
succeeding 50 years, Japan’s economy has changed so that the income from farming
less than 3 hectares of rice is dwarfed by other income opportunities. At the same
time, small-sized paddies and the rising cost of labor have led to widespread farm
investment in machines. Farmers have shifted to off-farm employment, and rice
cultivation has become a part-time household activity for most farms. Restrictions on
ownership and renting land have been lifted.

Japan’s rice policies have changed in the last decade and are likely to change again as the
country struggles to transform its small-scale land holdings into more efficient farms. Japan’s
government has introduced new policies for rice farming in the last 5 years, and relinquished
some control over rice marketing in the 1990s.

The government of Japan has heavily subsidized rice production since the 1970s and
resisted rice imports for over 30 years. It recently has agreed to a rice import quota,
although most of the rice is not released directly into Japan’s market. Instead,
imported rice often remains in government stocks until it is released as food aid to
developing countries or sold as an input to food processors.

As mentioned, in the late 1990s, Japan’s government ended years of regulation over
the marketing of rice. Farmers are now free to choose any marketing channel, and
wholesale and retail marketing of rice is largely free of government supervision and
licensing requirements. In recent years, retail prices of rice in Japan have fallen,
perhaps in part because of the increased wholesale and retail competition that has
accompanied the deregulation of marketing.

Government subsidies to rice production remain high, however. Contrary to the
WTO-AoA, the Japanese government continues to provide so-called diversion
payments, subsidies for restructuring rice farming, insurance, research and farmers’
pension, and many others.

The Rice Farming Income Stabilization Program began in 1998. Under this program,
there is no intervention to support market rice prices. However, rice farmers are
compensated when the market price in a crop year falls below a standard price, which
is calculated as the moving average market price of preceding years. Participation in
Income Stabilization Program is voluntary. To get the full benefits farmers are
required to join the production adjustment promotion program (PAPP) which diverts
some of their paddy land away from rice (a farmer diverting a paddy field to another
crop receives the revenue from selling the crop + diversion payment). In 2001, the
area diverted was 1,010,000 hectares, over a third of total paddy area.

In 2004, the Japanese government launched the Rice Policy Reform allegedly to cope
with globalization through a change from the existing rice supply adjustment
program. Japanese government abolished the set-aside program to achieve efficient
land resource allocation for rice production under market mechanism by 2010. It has
also encouraged large-scale farms.


   1. Umemoto, M. 2005. Behavior and Strategies of Japanese rice producers under
      globalization. Rice is Life: Scientific Perspectives of the 21st century, 523-525.
   2. Materials    for     Agricultural     Production.     Retrieved      Jan    2009   from
   3. The Census of Agriculture (and Forestry), Statistics and Information Department,
      Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
   4. Monthly Comprehensive Report of Labor Statistics Survey, Statistics and Information
      Department, Minister's Secretariat, Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
   5. Survey of Wages in Rural Areas, Statistics Department, Minister's Secretariat,
      Ministry of Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries.
   6. Labor Force and Employment. Retrieven Jan 2009 from
   7. Maclean, J. L., Dawe, D. C., Hardy, B. and Hettel, G.P., eds. 2002. Rice Almanac,
      Los Banos (Philippines): International Rice Research Institute, Bouake (Cote
      d’Ivoire): West Africa Rice Development Association, Cali (Colombia): International
      Center for Tropical Agriculture, Rome 9Italy): Food and Agriculture, Rome (Italy):
      Food and Agriculture Organization. 114-117.
   8. Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. 2003. Survey on Movement of
      Agricultural Structure (Bacic structure).
9. Fukuda, H. Dyck, J. and Stout, J., 2003. Rice Sector Policies in Japan.
10. Wakatsuki, T. 2005. Comparative studies on rice farming system in Japan,
    Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand and West African countries. Paper Presented at First
    Asia-Europe Workshop on Sustainable Resource Management and Policy Options for
    Rice Ecosystem (SUMAPOL 2005), 11-14 May 2005, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province,
    P. R. China.

                                                                           April 2009

To top