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Japanese Natural Farming Guru Kawaguchi Yoshikazu

For decades now, Kawaguchi Yoshikazu has been challenging conventional agricultural wisdom by rejecting not only chemicals but also machinery, organic fertilizer, and tillage. We asked Kawaguchi to share his wisdom on natural farming and stewardship of the planet.

Japan’s Food Self-Sufficiency Rate Hits 23-Year Low in FY 2016 (News)

Tokyo, Aug. 9 (Jiji Press)—Japan's food self-sufficiency rate hit a 23-year low on a calorie basis in fiscal 2016, which ended in March, due mainly to falling rice consumption, the farm ministry said Wednesday. The self-sufficiency rate fell one percentage point from the previous year to 38%, its lowest level since it hit 37% in fiscal 1993. The drop was caused by significant falls in the pr…

A First Step Toward Reform of Japan’s Agricultural Cooperative SystemYamashita Kazuhito

The government has embarked on the first overhaul of Japan’s agricultural cooperative system in around 60 years. Yamashita Kazuhito takes a look at the history of this powerful institution—whose influence stretches beyond farming to the worlds of politics and finance—and ponders its future role.

Pressure Mounting To Reopen Isahaya BayJames Singleton

There is no better example of the juggernaut that is Japan's public works system than the Isahaya Bay Reclamation Project, a massive endeavor to fill in the tidal flats of Isahaya Bay for agricultural use. Alex Kerr gives an enlightening account in his book Dogs and Demons: The Fall of Modern Japan of how the project, part of a 1952 initiative by Nagasaki Prefecture to boost rice production, was p…

Reforms as the Key to a Successful Growth StrategyYashiro Naohiro

Can Abenomics overcome Japan’s prolonged deflation and get the economy back on the growth path? The key to a successful outcome is regulatory reform. Economist Yashiro Naohiro looks at the reform agenda in three fields: agriculture, urban development, and medical and nursing care.

China’s Safety Net Shackled to Family RegistersAko Tomoko

China has become the world’s number two economy, but it is still a country with huge economic disparities. Some of the gaps are connected to the household registration system, which divides the population between urban and rural residents. Today this system is generating discontent and complicating the construction of a safety net.

Japanese Festivals and the Annual Cycle of LifeYamamoto Tetsuya

There are said to be anywhere between 100,000 and 300,000 festivals in Japan. Almost every community has its own unique festival, or matsuri, with its unique origins and special features. Matsuri enthusiast Yamamoto Tetsuya provides some background.

Hokkaidō’s Space-Age Strawberry Factory

The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Hokkaidō, has developed a state-of-the-art plant factory that is the first in the world equipped to cultivate transgenic plants and convert them into drugs, all on the same premises.

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