As the world’s biggest net food importer, Japan will ask the World Trade Organization as early as next week to introduce rules to prevent countries from restricting exports of wheat, rice and other grains, according to the agriculture ministry.
Countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and China have imposed export curbs on rice as shortages caused prices to double in the past year. Shortfalls in other staples are starting to bite in Japan, where a reliance on imports of cattle feed led to a butter shortage and a gain in wheat costs pushed up bread prices 8 percent in December, the first increase in 17 years.
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