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Thu, 12/28/2023 - 01:14
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Japan Eyes 5 Bills for Enhancing Food Security

Tokyo, Dec. 27 (Jiji Press)--The government plans to submit to next year's ordinary session of the Diet, Japan's parliament, five bills to strengthen the country's food security, officials said Wednesday.

They include one to realize the first full-scale revision to the basic law on food, agriculture and rural areas, known as the constitution for agricultural administration, since its enactment in 1999.

Other bills are for ensuring enough food supplies in times of emergency, securing and effectively using farmland, procuring ingredients in a stable way and promoting smart agriculture.

With the bills, the government aims to reduce the country's heavy dependence on food imports and beef up the foundations of agricultural production.

Japan "will squarely address social problems such as the rapid decline in the population and shortages of people" engaged in agriculture, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told a meeting of a government task force.

The government "will drastically review the agricultural administration in order to achieve regional growth by overcoming these problems," he said.

The government plans to check progress on specific measures based on a newly compiled road map, aiming to draw up the next five-year basic plan for food, agriculture and rural areas by around spring 2025.

Japan is set to create a system to evaluate its food security situation by utilizing more indicators in addition to food self-sufficiency.

The government will also review its rice paddy field policy, including the promotion of converting paddies to fields for other crops in response to a drop in demand for rice for direct human consumption.

In December last year, the government adopted a package of policies aimed at supporting efforts to expand domestic production of fertilizers and feed and reduce dependence on imports for wheat and soybeans.

At Wednesday's meeting, the government revised the package in line with progress in discussions on revising the basic law while adopting the road map.

Through the envisaged law revision, the government aims to pave the way for maintaining agricultural production levels despite the declining population.