June 29, 2018 Fri
Yosano’s rice paddies

Driving, cycling or walking anywhere in Yosano means being surrounded by rice fields. Currently, the fields are a lush green, the rice in the middle of its growing cycle. As might be expected, rice is considered an important agricultural tradition, and an integral part of Japan’s food culture. Accordingly, the Japanese government imposes extremely large tariffs on imported rice, and the price of domestic rice is kept artificially high to support production and ensure Japan’s food security. But with most Japanese farmers over 65, and a lack of interest from young people in agricultural careers, the future of rice farming is uncertain. Proposals to open up the market, for example by allowing conglomerates to buy areas of land, are subject to fierce debate. Preserving the rice-growing tradition - and therefore the landscape of towns such as Yosano - is one of the next generation’s biggest challenges

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