Japan moves to boost butter imports amid shortage fears

The Japanese government is trying to get ahead of a possible butter shortage this summer. The agriculture ministry says it plans to increase the butter import quota for this fiscal year by 40 percent.

The government imports some dairy products, including butter and skim milk, based on quotas to ensure stable supplies. The ministry will raise the quota for butter from 10,000 tons to 14,000.

Officials say that stocks at the end of March were down from a year ago due to last summer's heat wave. Meanwhile demand from confectioners is on the rise. The government is worried that there could be more intense heat this summer that worsens the situation.

Bidding for the additional quota will be held from July or later.