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Agricultural Reform in Japan (2008-12)

Active Years: 2008-2012

During fiscal 2008 the Tokyo Foundation published on its website a series of articles on Japanese agricultural policy by Senior Fellow Kazuhito Yamashita. The articles dealt with some of the most pressing topics in farming policy today, including rice acreage reduction, the farmland system, controversies surrounding agricultural cooperatives, and the role of corporations in reforming Japanese agriculture. This series elicited a considerable response both in Japan and overseas.

In May we held our twenty-fifth Forum, on the theme “Moving Beyond Postwar Policy: Ending Acreage Reduction and Reforming the Agricultural Sector.” A discussion panel made up of Shigeru Ishiba (Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries), Takashi Shinohara (Member of the House of Representatives, Democratic Party of Japan), Shinichi Shogenji (Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tokyo), and Kazuhito Yamashita saw a lively exchange of views on the subject of acreage reduction to maintain high rice prices, a central pillar of the government’s agricultural policy in the postwar era.

Japan’s agricultural sector faces a number of serious challenges: a declining and aging population of farmers, the loss of farmland as more and more farmers abandon production, and threats to the nation’s food security as a result of diminishing self-sufficiency. Now is the time to make the much-needed changes to Japan’s postwar agricultural policy.

The Tokyo Foundation elucidates suitable directions for the future by reappraising the current state of Japanese agriculture. Starting from a zero base, we are formulating policies that meet the real needs of the Japanese people.


  • Shogenji, Shinichi (-2015) SENIOR FELLOW

Project manager(s):

  • Banno, Yuko (2010-14)
  • Tomita, Kiyoyuki

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