Japan's agriculture white paper focuses on food security

Japan's latest white paper on agriculture for the first time features a special focus on how to improve the country's food security. It calls for a reduction in the nation's reliance on imported farm products.

The annual report was approved by the Cabinet on Friday.

Concerns about a global food crisis are growing due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and other challenges.

The white paper says that international wheat prices reached an all-time high in March 2022 due to growing demand in China and the war in Ukraine. It says they remain at high levels.

Japan is heavily reliant on food products and fertilizers from a few countries. The nation imports over 99 percent of its wheat from the United States, Canada, and Australia.

The paper says that import prices of a key fertilizer ingredient, urea, rose to record highs and are fluctuating widely. 95 percent of Japan's urea needs come from abroad.

The white paper stresses the need to expand domestic production. It says Japan should establish a stable supply of good quality domestic crops including wheat and soybeans. It also calls for ties with countries exporting these products to be strengthened and the range of suppliers to be diversified.