GIEWS Country Brief: Japan 11-July-2012
Harvesting of the 2012 winter wheat crop is just underway and will continue into August. Rains were generally above average throughout the country during the 2012 cropping season benefiting crop development. Barley and wheat production is expected to rise slightly, on account of improved yields.
Planting of the 2012 paddy cop was completed in May. Despite a marginal decrease in plantings, due to high levels of soil contamination caused by radioactive caesium following the Fukushima disaster, output is expected to increase somewhat as a result of favourable weather conditions so far.
Japan was hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011 on its east coast causing a heavy death toll and an enormous devastation. The subsequent nuclear disaster with significant radioactivity has affected the food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors in the five prefectures (Aomori, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Iwate and Miyagi) located on the eastern part of central Japan.
However, the impact of the tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis on the 2011 cereal crops was smaller than previously conceived. The rice crop was officially estimated at 10.5 million tonnes, showing only a slight decrease from the previous year’s level. Wheat and barley production increased marginally compared to 2010.
Production of wheat covers only a small portion of the domestic consumption requirements and the country imports large amounts of wheat, averaging over 5 million tonnes per year.
Japan does not produce maize, hence large quantities of over 16 million tonnes are imported annually. By contrast, relatively small volumes of rice, in the order of 600 000 to 700 000 tonnes, are imported annually.