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The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will step up measures to boost exports of farm products by reinforcing the Japan External Trade Organization and increasing financial support for agricultural corporations, according to a METI draft report.

The ministry came up with the draft, aimed at making the country’s agricultural sector more competitive, as the government considers whether it should join negotiations for a regional tariff-cutting free-trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

METI planned to formalize the report Tuesday during a meeting of its panel on supporting agricultural businesses, hoping the measures will be reflected in a basic policy on agricultural reform the government plans to compile in June.

Agriculture is “one of the promising businesses,” but Japan has “neglected efforts to seek overseas demand that could lead to exports,” the draft report said.

To increase the value of exports of farm and marine products from the 2009 level of ¥445.4 billion, JETRO would set up a consultation service and increase the number of coordinators and experts that would help farmers and others respond to changes in export markets.

“Even if farmers try to export (their products), they don’t know what can be sold and what they should do. It is our first priority to respond to such farmers’ concerns,” it said.

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