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Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

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Director General's message

TAKAHASHI Takao, Director-General
TAKAHASHI Takao, Director-General


  The Policy Research Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (PRIMAFF), established as the sole national entity devoted to scholarly investigations related to the sectors under the Ministry's purview, uses the methodologies of social sciences and other disciplines to conduct scientific research for the policy planning by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Being a research institute, we have also conducted fundamental and ground-breaking research in the fields of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. For a quick response to all our policy issues, we collaborate with the administrative offices of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries for our scientific research. We continuously engage in research on fundamental policy themes in the fields of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries from the medium- and long-term perspectives. We share our research findings with the administrative offices and disseminate them to the broader society.

  Japan’s agriculture, forestry, and fisheries sectors are vital in producing and providing citizens with stable, high-quality food supplies. Moreover, they act as key industries in rural areas and have deep ties with a wide range of related industries, such as the food industry. The continuing operation of the local agriculture, forestry, and fisheries sectors builds vibrant rural communities and related industries.

  However, the environment surrounding Japan’s agriculture, forestry, and fisheries industries is still undergoing major changes. At an international level, rapid global population growth, especially in developing countries, means an increasing demand for food. Meanwhile, changes in the climate and heightened geopolitical risks leads to increased frequency of extreme weather, destabilizing the production and supply of food worldwide. Moreover, in contrast to the prolonged deflationary economy in Japan, the economies of China, India, and other newly industrializing countries are growing rapidly. Due to this, Japan’s relative global economic standing is declining to the extent that Japan may no longer be able to import necessary foods and production materials easily. If we look at the domestic agriculture, concerns such as reducing number of farmers, their aging population, and the degeneration of rural communities exist. In 2009, Japan’s total population also began to decline, making the shrinking of the domestic market an unavoidable challenge. In addition, due to the spread of initiatives and awareness of sustainable development goals (SDGs) globally, societal demands warrant consideration and responses to environmental and biodiversity issues. Thus, sustainability is becoming recognized as a crucial factor in the development and future growth of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.

  To deal with current evolving environment in Japan’s agriculture, forestry, and fisheries and with probable new issues over the next 20 years, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has established a basic law review subcommittee within the framework of the Council of Food, Agriculture and Rural Area Policies. The subcommittee was tasked with reviewing and revising the Food, Agriculture and Rural Areas Basic Act and issued its interim report on May 29, 2023.
  Further, on June 2, 2023, the government’s Headquarters for Stable Food Supply and Strengthening the Foundation for Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries issued a report titled “New Directions in Developing Policies on Food, Agriculture, and Rural Areas.”
  The following topics within this report offers directions for amending these policies:
(1) Ensuring food security for every citizen during peacetime;
(2) Transforming to sustainable agricultural and food industries that consider factors such as the environment; and
(3) Establishing a foundation for the food supply that will remain robust and sustainable even as the population declines.

  It is not feasible to deal with these new issues by extending past policies; moreover, there is a strong demand for innovative policy planning based on fresh ideas. Under such circumstances, we believe that the role played by our research institute will become even greater.
  The institute must collaborate with administrative offices to resolve all issues connected with each topic; this includes understanding the circumstances that caused the issues, the steps other countries take to deal with similar issues, and the effectiveness of implementing policies under consideration.
  The institute not only collaborates closely with administrative offices but also works to incorporate more diverse standpoints and opinions into its research findings by conducting research in collaboration with a broad range of people, including visiting researchers and other researchers from external organizations and research institutes at universities and other organizations.
  Moreover, we need to offer understandable and persuasive explanations to those outside the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries industries by presenting data-based policy proposals and disclosing the policy outcomes to gain a shared societal understanding of the necessity of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries policies, and why those industries and rural communities are important.
  The results of the research will be incorporated into policies and disseminated through various media channels.

  The research situation has been challenging over the past few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on field surveys and in-person seminars in Japan and overseas. However, since the reclassification of COVID-19 as Class 5, we have been gradually restarting our programs. Additionally, COVID-19 has facilitated communication with remote participants by popularizing a hybrid approach of conducting meetings, in person and online. We plan to continue strengthening our programs and pursuing research on the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries industries and the sustainable development of rural communities, and we ask for further understanding and support in these endeavors by everyone. 

July. 2023