Tokyo is looking to identify regions that could benefit from Japanese investment and assistance to increase food production, according to the country’s agriculture ministry.
The investment plans are, nonetheless, of a different nature from those of countries such as South Korea and Saudi Arabia, which are investing in farmland in order to export back the crops to feed their own population. Tokyo is planning to sell crops on the global food market, according to experts and diplomats familiar with Japan’s agriculture policy.
Munemitsu Hirano, director for international trade policy negotiations at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said Japan might not be guaranteed stable food supplies as a result of its investment efforts. But he told the Financial Times: “If [food] production increases worldwide that will help Japan to import.”
Tokyo has long supported ventures into agriculture by Japan’s trading houses – particularly in soya bean production in Latin America after it was spooked by its large dependency on the US during the brief US soya bean embargo of 1973. Itochu and Marubeni, two of the country’s trading houses, have said in the past year they wanted to boost their agricultural production and have signed deals with China to supply Beijing with agricultural commodities, particularly soya."