Coalition agrees to halve rice subsidy

JIJI

The Liberal Democratic Party and coalition partner New Komeito agreed Wednesday to halve the subsidy next year for rice farmers cooperating in the government’s policy of cutting production of the country’s staple food.

Currently, rice farmers get ¥15,000 from the government for every 1,000 sq. meters of rice fields they leave unplanted.

The agreement calls for reducing the amount to ¥7,500. The LDP initially sought a reduction to ¥5,000, and New Komeito to ¥10,000.

Some of the money saved will go toward subsidizing the maintenance of rice paddies.

The administration plans to end the subsidy program and the output reduction policy in fiscal 2018.

The program, introduced in fiscal 2010 when the Democratic Party of Japan was in power, has been criticized for hampering agricultural development.