An agricultural sector that provides food security and abundant green spaces is a cornerstone of our national territory and of the lives of its people. We will increase self-sufficiency in the supply of agricultural produce, and nurture enthusiastic people to sustain our agricultural sector.
The DPJ will halt the current system of agricultural subsidies, which create excessive dependence on the government and politicians, and actively support agricultural managers, so as to ensure a thriving Japanese agricultural sector.
Switch from subsidy-sodden agriculture to a system of direct payments
We will halt the agricultural policy that has persisted up to now, which has been maintained by price-support policies and subsidies, and establish a direct-payment system as the pillar of a new policy for revitalizing agriculture and farming communities. This will be targeted at staple produce such as rice, barley, soybeans, minor grains, rapeseed, and produce for feedstuffs, at mountainous regions, and at environmentally friendly agriculture, so as to bring about a switch to a type of agriculture in which motivated farmers are freed from anxiety and can look to the future with confidence.
Strengthen and enhance food security and the system of import inspection
There is growing unease about matters such as agrochemical residues in imported vegetables, and outbreaks of BSE and avian influenza. To remove this anxiety and ensure the supply of safe, healthy food, we will establish trustworthy agriculture with a human face, by promoting consumption within producing areas and direct transportation from producing areas, and other measures such as the strict disclosure of producers' identities. At the same time we will substantially expand the system of inspection of imported foodstuffs, including by ensuring the display of the ingredients of raw materials in processed foods and the indication of place of origin, and appointing "international food inspectors". Domestically, we will promote organic farming and minimal use of agrochemicals.
Substantially revise the agricultural land system
In order to invigorate the agricultural sector and farming communities it is important not to neglect the problem of the abandonment of farmland and the difficulty of passing on land to successors, and to switch to a mechanism in which vigorous people of various types are able to assume responsibility for farmland and agriculture and engage in farming. To achieve that, we will stiffen regulations on the change of land use, and with respect to the use of farming land we will drastically ease rules on entry.
Invigorate agriculture with a diversity of management entities
We will promote the sharing of large-scale machinery and joint management and the formation of corporations in such fields as collective harvesting, the expansion of sales channels, and commissioned cultivation, so as to spur the establishment of more efficient agriculture with higher productivity. In such areas as idle farmland we will grant usage rights to NPOs and joint-stock companies, thereby expanding employment opportunities in the regions. We will also take active steps to create opportunities for suitably motivated urban company employees and retired people to take jobs in agriculture, for which rural municipalities will be the prime movers.
Ensure food self-sufficiency
To contribute to the stability of the global food supply-demand situation and to assure peace of mind and security among the people of Japan with respect to food supplies, we will endeavour to increase Japan's food self-sufficiency. By means of a sweeping shift of agricultural policy, we will first raise Japan's food self-sufficiency from 40%, its current level, to 50% within 10 years of forming the DPJ administration, and continue thereafter to raise it to at least 60%.