Japan, which relies on imports for 90% of its annual wheat consumption, is no longer on the brink of a food crisis, but has fallen off the cliff.
According to one government poll, 80% of Japanese are frightened about what the future holds for their food supply.
Last week, as the prices of wheat and barley continued their relentless climb, the Japanese Government discovered it had exhausted its ¥230 billion ($2.2 billion) budget for the grains with two months remaining.
It was forced to call on an emergency reserve to ensure it could continue feeding the nation.
In the wake of the decision this week by Kazakhstan, the world’s fifth biggest wheat exporter, to join Russia, Ukraine and Argentina in stopping exports to satisfy domestic demand, the situation in Japan is expected to worsen.
Arguably Japan’s biggest concern, however, is its weakening ability to sustain its population with domestic produce. In 2006 the country’s self-sufficiency rate fell to 39%…. [story]