Japan will stress the importance of the “multiple functions” of agriculture to ward off tariff reduction demands from the United States and other major agricultural exporters at global farm trade talks next year, government officials said Monday.

Japan will maintain that the multiple functions of agriculture, such as environmental conservation and protection of land from natural disasters, are closely linked to domestic farming operations and should be protected, the officials said.

The concept of agriculture’s multiple functions is in line with Japan’s basic approach toward the new round of talks under the World Trade Organization, the officials said.

At the WTO talks, Japan is to seek out fair trade rules for exporters and importers and for developed and developing countries, they said.

Japan will also emphasize the need to support domestic agriculture in connection with legislation envisaging a rise in its self-sufficiency in food, which is the lowest among industrialized countries, the officials said.

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