Already in 2000 the government tried to change that rate and established the Basic Plan on Food, Agriculture, and Rural Areas that set a target of 45% for the total food self-sufficiency ratio (supplied calorie basis) by 2010. But as we know today this goal is not reached even halfway.
Meats are the largest component of Japan's agricultural imports - about 20 percent in recent years. Japan imports large quantities of pork, beef, and poultry meat. Based on the value of imports, Japan is the largest meat-importing country in the world. But because Japan allows frozen and chilled beef and pork to enter only from countries free of foot-and-mouth disease, the number of countries exporting such meat to Japan is small.
To solve that problem the newly elected government (lead by the Democratic Party Japan) is now promising to pay farmers if prices should drop below production costs and aims to achieve self-sufficiency in important grains. "A DPJ-led government will try to revive agriculture in Japan by supporting every farm with cash payments," said Nobuyuki Chino, the president of Tokyo-based Unipac Grain Ltd. "The policy will help boost domestic production, although the self-sufficiency target is hard to achieve immediately."