The Appropriate Revision of the Basic Law on Food, Agriculture and Rural Areas: Problems in the mid-term report by the panel of the policy council on food, agriculture and rural areas for the verification of the basic law on food, agriculture and rural areas Part 1 on food and agriculture

Author Name YAMASHITA Kazuhito (Senior Fellow (Specially Appointed), RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. July 2023 23-P-011
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The mid-term report tries to shift agricultural policy from the structural adjustment policy of agriculture to agricultural protection by means of price support for all kinds of both small and large farmers.

Though it emphasizes import risks of agricultural products facing the price pike of imports, Japan can continue to import such products because it can afford to buy domestic products which are priced much higher than imports. Arguments for the increase of the domestic price of agricultural products based on the notion of “appropriate price formation” discourage export and harm poor people. Direct payments will improve the sustainability of Japanese agriculture and provide consumers with food that is less expensive than now.

The acreage reduction policy for rice paddy fields have deteriorated multifunctionality and will decrease the supply of food in a crisis. This abnormal and unprecedented policy which has increased the burden of consumers (the price of rice) through the reduction of the rice supply by means of the taxpayer burden (due to subsidies to farmers) remains in place.

The increase in the profitability of full-time farmers resulting from consolidating farmland will lead to an increase in the rent for landowners which will allow them to manage or maintain farmland, waterways and roads.

Many miscellaneous and complicated policies of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries discourage public officials in rural governments and farmers themselves from independently undertaking original and creative activities. Those policies should be streamlined and simplified.