Japanese Eating More Food Imports
For the first time, imported food last year accounted for more than half the calories consumed by Japanese people, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry says in an annual report.
The report says the country’s food self-sufficiency rate dropped 2 percentage points to 49% on a calorie basis during the fiscal year that ended in March, Japanese newspapers said Wednesday.
It was the largest one-year drop in the rate since 1973, when it also declined 2 percentage points, the report said.
The ministry attributed the drop to rising consumption of dairy products, meat and other imported goods, accompanied by a gradual decline in the amount of rice in the Japanese diet.
The United States and other trading partners have pressured Japan to open its market wider to agricultural imports, particularly rice. Japan has maintained a policy of self-sufficiency in that grain, which it says is necessary for national security as a basic foodstuff.
Japan is the biggest importer of agricultural products among developed nations and the largest buyer of U.S. farm products.