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One of the Democratic Party of Japan’s main election promises is to introduce an individual-household income compensation system for farmers growing staple crops. As a first step, the government has decided to introduce the system for rice farmers across the nation in fiscal 2010. The farm ministry has asked for ¥344.7 billion for the plan in its budgetary request.

The system represents drastic change in the nation’s agricultural policy. In the past, the government adopted one agricultural policy after another, resulting in incoherent policy progression and causing suffering for farmers. The traditional rice policy, for example, has grown very complex with a maze of subsidies. Under the traditional policy, subsidies were given to farmers indirectly through farming organizations.

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