- Agriculture, Forestry & Fishery
Action 46. Shift from Defensive to Proactive Approach – Expand Japanese Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery on a Global Scale!
From a global viewpoint, the market for agricultural products is a highly promising growth market. The global food market, which is now 340 trillion yen, is expected to double in 2020 to 680 trillion yen. Fortunately, Japanese food has proven popular around the world as evidenced by its designation by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage. The issue is how to connect this brand value to exports. As long as we do not fail to implement the right strategy, we can make Japanese agriculture, forestry, and fishery globally competitive export industries.
Action 45. Break Up the Japan Agricultural Cooperatives and Promote New Entries via the Internet and Other Means to Reform Agricultural Distribution!
Japan Agricultural Cooperatives (JA) is a financial institution on the scale of a megabank combined with the largest insurance company in Japan, with total deposits of about 90 trillion yen and total assets of its insurance business of around 50 trillion yen. It is a financial and distribution conglomerate that monopolizes/oligopolizes agricultural distribution. Under the post-WWII government policies to reduce rice acreage and maintain high prices for rice, Japanese agriculture has been declining, but JA alone has enjoyed continued prosperity. To strengthen the competitiveness of agriculture, it is essential to introduce the principle of competition in the distribution process.
Action 44. Make Agriculture a Growth Industry – Encourage New Entries and Promote Scaling Up and Streamlining!
Agriculture is protected by the hardest of the so-called “bedrock” regulations. In discussing issues regarding trade liberalization, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the structure of “manufacturing versus agriculture” is often mentioned. This is an erroneous characterization. What actually exists is a conflict of interests between small-scale farmers with vested interests protected by regulations versus new entrants and agricultural reformers. Even under the current situation in Japan, there is some agriculture that is still globally competitive. It is necessary to transform Japanese agriculture, which has been locked up by regulation and thereby weakened, into a strong growth industry.