Japan to review basic law on food, agriculture and rural areas amid growing threats to food security
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sept. 9 instructed the government’s headquarters for stable food supply and sustainable agriculture to review the basic law on food, agriculture and rural areas, known as the “constitution of agriculture policies,” with a view to revise it.
Agriculture minister Tetsuro Nomura said the government will show the direction on what to do with the law in about a year while focusing on creating a consensus among the people.
The points at issue are boosting self-sufficiency of farm produce, fertilizers and livestock feed.
The law was enacted in 1999. It has served to set farm policies of today including nurturing and securing motivated farmers who will take on a leadership role in local communities.
Meanwhile, more than 20 years have passed since the enactment of the law, and situations surrounding agriculture have changed, with farmers and farmlands declining, exports of farm produce expanding and climate change intensifying.
Amid the Ukraine crisis, concerns grew over supplies of food and production materials, prompting calls from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and others to review the law.
“Taking into account the first revision of the law 20 years after its enactment, I hope ministers concerned will cooperate to look into the issue comprehensively and proceed with the reviewing,” Kishida said at a meeting of the headquarters.
In response, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries set up its own headquarters on the same day, headed by the farm minister.
Nomura instructed officials to examine agriculture policies after the law’s enactment without presumptions.
“It is not a matter only of farmers or consumers. We need to listen to a wide range of opinions from different groups of people,” Nomura said, adding that a direction should be proposed in about a year.
“We are standing at a major crossroads of how to shape Japan’s agriculture in the next 20 years,” Nomura told reporters at a news conference after the cabinet meeting on the same day.
He stressed that the results of the examination of the law will come out within the next year.
Hiroshi Moriyama, head of the LDP’s committee on food security, has said it is desirable that the bill to revise the law be submitted to the ordinary Diet session in 2024.