The average annual income from farm products for full-time rice farmers was ¥3.37 million per household in 2007, according to the agriculture ministry, but “it is an income for a household with 2.6 people engaged in farm work,” the Todai professor said.

Japanese farmers are sometimes criticized for being overly protected with subsidies, but he said in actuality they’re not, compared with farmers in the European Union. “Ninety percent of their income is covered” because the EU budget is used to purchase the products when prices fall below the intervention price, he said.

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