Friday, November 12, 2010

Japanese Agriculture

An article in today's Post on Obama's trip to Japan mentioned the problems the prime minister faces, including this:
But the sharpest acrimony came from the agricultural sector, the longtime granddaddy of Japanese politics, traditionally protected by high tariffs on imports such as rice and butter. With those tariffs obliterated, about 3.4 million farmers could lose their jobs, Japan's main agricultural group says.
The figure seemed high, so I did a little googling and found this link which not only confirms the figure is too high (3.4 million may be the total number of farmers) but includes lots of details on  farming: some are similar to the U.S., aging farmers, part time farmers reliant on outside jobs, heavily subsidized and political.; some are different, as in the average size of a farm is 4 acres, or the "plant factories" for lettuce.

[Updated: According to the NY Times story, the proposed changes might cost 3.4 million jobs.  The Post writer may have misinterpreted that as "farmers", not agriculture-related workers.]

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