Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate on a caloric intake basis stood at 38 percent in fiscal 2022, unchanged from the previous year but still near a record low, the farm ministry said Monday, adding pressure on the country to enhance food security.
When measured by production value, the rate was 58 percent, down 5 percentage points from fiscal 2021, the lowest among comparable data available since 1965, as an increase in global grain prices and the yen’s downtrend have raised the value of imports, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.
The dwindling rate on a caloric intake basis, which is one of the lowest among major economies, underscores the government’s struggle to reach 45 percent by fiscal 2030, at a time Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a major producer of grains, and the COVID-19 pandemic are posing risks to a secure food supply.
A farmer checks his rice field in Anjo, Aichi Prefecture in central Japan on June 16, 2022. (Kyodo)
On a production value basis, the government targets 75 percent by fiscal 2030.
The rate of 38 percent for fiscal 2022 on caloric intake basis remains close to a record low of 37 percent, which was most recently logged in fiscal 2020.
For fiscal 2022, not only did the number of shellfish and fish caught and the amount of wheat harvested decrease, but the consumption of oils and fats, which Japan largely imports, also fell, resulting in the same rate as the previous year, the ministry said.
The decades-long downward trend in the self-sufficiency rate reflects changes in the Japanese diet, with the consumption of domestic rice on the decline and that of meat on the rise.
By food items, the self-sufficiency rate, on a weight basis, for rice rose 1 point to 99 percent, while wheat fell 2 points to 15 percent, and soybeans 1 point to 6 percent.
The rate for vegetables was 79 percent, a decrease of 1 point, while shellfish and sea fish fell 4 points to 54 percent.