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Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

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Director General's message

ASAKAWA Kyouko, Director General
ASAKAWA Kyouko, Director-General


  Lately, there has been a growing sense of crisis worldwide due to abnormal weather events, recurrent natural disasters, and changes in the ecosystem; therefore, we must simultaneously promote economic activities and undertake mitigation and adaptation measures to combat climate change. At COP26, organized in the Fall of 2021, various countries eagerly expressed their pledges to meet the ambitious targets of the Paris Agreement, complementing the international trend of undertaking efforts to protect the global environment.

  In Japan, the Prime Minister’s 2020 general policy speech included a declaration that Japan would become “carbon neutral” by eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; efforts have been already undertaken to achieve this target.

  In May 2021, the strategy for sustainable food systems, Measures for achievement of Decarbonization and Resilience with Innovation (MeaDRI) was drawn up to achieve the sustainable development of the agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and food industries while maintaining a healthy global environment and sustainable food system. In line with this strategy, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) will promote the elimination of CO2 emissions in the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries industries, reduce the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and expand organic agriculture. Considering the greening policy, MAFF is supporting the expansion of the organic market and construction of a production system that can sustain it, reduction in the use of fertilizers and pesticides adopting innovative technology, building of a sustainable energy supply using resources in rural areas, and increase of ESG investment into the agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and food industries. Moreover, to instill the efforts at the level of individual producers and businesses, it is vital to gain the understanding and support of consumers and the general public at every level. Due to this MAFF is strengthening its approach to promote public awareness on sustainable food systems.

  At the Policy Research Institute of MAFF (a social science policy research institute), in cooperation with relevant organizations, we promote (1) research to encourage the behavioral change of the stakeholders involved in the food system; (2) the research on agricultural and environmental policies in major countries and regions; and (3) the investigation and verification of the effects and issues resulting from the use of resources in rural areas, and the development of methods for evaluating the value of an environmentally friendly production.

  Specifically, we will use the results from the existing research in the following areas to promote MeaDRI: (1) research elucidating effective policy intervention methods by investigating obstacles in shifting to environmentally friendly production methods and measuring the degree of the behavioral change of producers and consumers using behavioral economics; (2) research analyzing the approach and results of organic agriculture promotion measures undertaken in major countries and regions; and (3) investigation and verification of the economic and social effects of the “local production for local consumption”-type biomass projects in rural areas as well as research on the development of indicators that comprehensively evaluate various benefits (not only economic benefits, but also the conservation of the environment and creation of cultural values, among others) generated from environmentally friendly production.

  In 2021, we presented the results of our research at a virtual open seminar (conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic) in which various people from across the country, including producers, business owners, local government representatives, and university researchers, among others, participated and exchanged their opinions. As remote working is expected to become a mainstay in the future, we hope to have the opportunity to continue sharing research results virtually, in addition to the traditional offline methods, to interact with all concerned and create an extensive network of stakeholders.

Jan. 2022