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Underappreciated and Overpriced? Japanese Rice Exports Sluggish

Japanese food is gaining global popularity as a healthy dining option. However, Japan exported just ¥3.2 billion worth of rice, the staple grain of the diet, in 2017. It is said that Japanese rice is “delicious but too expensive,” and foreign demand has been difficult to stimulate significantly. It has also proven difficult to implement incentives encouraging Japanese farmers to grow rice for export.

Japan’s Farming Population Rapidly Aging and Decreasing

Since1985 Japan’s farming population has shrunk by around 60% while the average age of farmers has steadily increased. Against this backdrop, the agricultural sector now faces a severe labor shortage.

Imported Blooms Fill the Gap as Domestic Cut Flower Shipments Tumble

Shipments of domestic cut flowers have been falling since 2000 and hit a new low in 2017. To compensate, imports have been increasing. This is particularly the case with Colombian carnations and imported carnations now outweigh domestic shipments.

Partial to Poultry: Chicken Is Japan’s Favorite Meat

The three main types of meat eaten in Japan are beef, pork, and chicken, with chicken being consumed the most. In recent years, convenience stores have played a lead role in this increase.

Japanese Mandarin Orange Harvest Drops as Labor Shortages Worsen

The harvest of mandarin oranges in 2017 was the smallest on record and just one-fifth the level of the peak harvest in 1975. The aging of the population of mandarin growers is a major factor underlying this decline.

Growing Popularity of Allotment Gardens in Urban Japan

Allotment gardens that offer city dwellers a chance to raise vegetables over the weekend are becoming increasingly popular. Idle land on the outskirts of large cities is being rented from farmers by local governments or agricultural associations to be subdivided for individuals who pay a fee to farm on it.

A Family Farm (Photos)Motono Katsuyoshi

Rejecting city life, the Tanakas set out to become farmers. Photographer Motono Katsuyoshi captures their daily life with their three children in rural Ibaraki Prefecture.

Tighter Rules on Japanese Wine Labeling (News)

Yamagata, Jan. 20 (Jiji Press)—Some Japanese wineries are moving to change their product indications containing geographical names ahead of the planned tightening of place-of-origin rules. The new rules aim to prevent consumer misunderstandings as the reputation of domestic wines continues to rise. Among them is Takeda Winery in the city of Kaminoyama, Yamagata Prefecture, whose mainstay produc…

The Enterprising Village at the Heart of the “Yuzu” Boom

At the epicenter of the yuzu boom, the tiny village of Umaji in Kōchi Prefecture is an inspiring example of a rural community that rebuilt its economy through homegrown entrepreneurship centered on a traditional local product.

New Brand of Blue-Tinted Cyclamen Unveiled in Japan (News)

Narita, Chiba Pref., Nov. 9 (Jiji Press)—Suntory Flowers Ltd. showed off its new brand of "blue cyclamen" in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, on Thursday. "Edo no Ao" flowers await shipment at a Suntory Flowers facility in Narita, Chiba. (© Jiji) The cyclamen, which has many indigo petals and is named "Edo no Ao," was unveiled to the press by the company, a unit of major Japanese food and beverage…

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