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Japan is the leading importer of farm products and foodstuffs in the world. Imports of farm-produce products in 1994 exceeded 46.7 billion US dollars which corresponds to an increase of 14% compared to 1993.
Japan fills more than 50% of its food needs by importing.
Japan is also the largest export market in the world as regards to fishing products because it absorbs more than a third of all the exports in the world in this sector.
Finally, the japonese market give importance to foodstuffs and farm products imported such as fresh and frozen vegetables, oleaginous plants, nuts, meats, grains, food for animals and food and drinks modified.
The Japonese agriculture remains a very subsidized and protected sector. The yield on arables lands is one of the highest in the world. Japan is endowed with a large and powerful system of agricultural cooperative societies which gather numerous small farmers. The cooperative societies system has managed to convince the government to maintain small farms, support prices and raise rates on imports.
The Ministry of agriculture, Foretry and Fisheries (MAAF) is the ministry which sets aside lands for specific cultivations and regulates distribution prices. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) focuses on the international aspect by attributing quotas on imports.

Agricultural population (in thousands)

Total population

1 278

Agricultural population

3 895

Non agricultural population

123 905

Source : 2004, FAOSTAT

Land use

Cultivated surface area

4 736 000

Irrigated surface area

2 592 000

Number of farms


Number of tractors

2 028 000

Source : 2003, FAOSTAT

Production indicators

Main crops

Product Production (in thousands) Harvested surface (1000 ha) Yield by hectare (kg/ha)
Rice paddy 11342 1706 6648
Sugar beet 4201 68 62237
Potatoes 2752 87 31669
Cabbages and other brassicas 2287 53 42904
Onions dry 1637 48 33913

Source : 2005, FAOSTAT


Specie Headcount (in thousands)
Chickens 265200
Pigs 9600
Cattle 4402
Beehives 183
Goats 34

Source : 2005, FAOSTAT

Fishing (in metric tons)

Shellfish, mollusks and cephalopods Saltwater fish Freshwater fish
1 324 324 3 091 930 14 919

Source : 2005, FAOSTAT