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Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate for fiscal 2006 declined to 39 percent in terms of calories supplied. This is the first time the rate has dipped below 40 percent since fiscal 1993 when the rate fell to 37 percent due to a poor rice crop. Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate is clearly low when compared with that of other developed countries. Corresponding rates, for example, are 84 percent for Germany, 128 percent for the United States and 237 percent for Australia.

In fiscal 1965, Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate was more than 70 percent. But it dropped over the years as Japanese eating habits became Westernized, leading to decreased demand for rice, Japan’s staple crop, and increases in food imports. Per capita yearly rice consumption fell from 61.4 kg in fiscal 2005 to 61 kg in fiscal 2006. Although the government has a goal of increasing the self-sufficiency rate to 45 percent by fiscal 2015, there are no prospects of achieving the goal.

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