Section 8. Food and Fishery Problems



1.  Food Problem


(1)  World's Food Supply-Demand Trends

The world's grain output in 1986 is estimated to have reached another all-time high of 1,858 million tons, topping the previous record high registered in 1985 by 16 million tons, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This was attributed to a year-to-year increase in output in China, India and other major grain producing countries in Asia and in Africa, more than offsetting production falls in the United States and Western Europe.

The world's grain trade in the year to June 1987 appears to have totaled around 174 million tons, less than 12 million tons from the preceding year and the lowest in eight years, reflecting a bumper crop in the Soviet Union in 1986. As a result, the world's grain inventories at the end of June 1987 is believed to have aggregated 448 million tons, a gain of 52 million tons from the previous year.

The grain harvest in Africa in 1986, meanwhile, is estimated to have totaled 55 million tons, an increase of more than 30% from 1984 when Africa was dealt a severe blow by a drought, resulting in the improvement of the food supply situation. But some African countries, such as Angola, Ethiopia and Mozambique, continued to suffer from a serious food shortage.


(2)  Stable Supply of Major Grains

Japan makes it a basic policy to secure a stable food supply on the combination of domestic production and imports from abroad. Therefore, Japan has been striving to not just improve productivity on the domestic front but maintain and promote friendly relations with major grain supplying countries and accelerate economic and technical cooperation for stepped-up food production with developing countries. On a multilateral basis, Japan has been actively taking part in a number of international meetings concerning farm produce, such as the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), International Wheat Council and World Food Program (WFP) council meetings for an exchange of information and consultations.



2.  Fishery-Related Matters


Japan's fish catch totaled more than 12 million tons in 1985, of which just over 2.1 million tons were caught in long distance fishing. Now that the new international maritime order has taken root, coastal countries increasingly advocate their rights to their own fishery resources year after year, making it more difficult for the Japanese fishery industry to secure traditional shares in foreign waters. In advanced countries, there is an increasingly vocal call for Japan to cooperate in the promotion of their own fishery industries through the transfer of fishery technologies and joint undertakings on top of moves for a phasedown of fishery quotas for foreign countries. Developing countries, on the other hand, continued to request an increase in fishing fees for use in the economic development. Environmental protection groups have sought the protection of marine mammals and seabirds and the prevention of the deterioration of the ocean environment through the dumping of marine debris stepping up the pressure to bear on not only whaling but salmon driftnet fishery as well. Amid such a severe international environment, Japan has strived to promote cooperative fishery relations in negotiations with relevant coastal countries and to secure fishery grounds in consideration of an effect on domestic fishermen.


(1)  Bilateral Fishery Negotiations

Japan conducted a series of negotiations with the United States to secure operations in the U.S. waters, the most important fishing ground for Japan's long distance fishery. But reflecting the United States' policy of so-called "Americanization of resources," Japan's quota in the U.S. waters in 1986 came to only about 480,000 tons. On the other hand, Japan's purchases of fish in the offshore from the U.S. fishermen expanded sharply with the conclusion of an agreement to buy about 580,000 tons in 1986. (The Japanese fishery industry agreed to buy about 880,000 tons from the U.S. fishery industry for 1987). The Soviet Union, attaching a greater importance to the preservation of resources and the development of its own marine product industry in recent years, has increasingly become irritated which the violation of the bilateral fishery agreement by Japanese fishing vessels, making Japan-Soviet fishery negotiations severer year after year. For 1987, Japan has been allotted a total of 300,000 tons for fisheries in the Soviet zone, including 100,000 tons for which Japanese fishermen are required to pay fees, (150,000 tons for 1986) and 24,500 tons for salmon catch, the same as for 1986. With South Korea, Japan started consultations to build bilateral fishery relations commensurate with the reality of the operations by Japanese and South Korean fishing vessels in the waters around Japan. Japan also conducted fishery negotiations with China, Canada, and Oceanian countries as in the previous year.


(2)  Multilateral Fishery Negotiations

At a special meeting of the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission held in April 1986, a decision was made on measures for phasing out of the mothership salmon fishery by 1993 in the high seas in the Bering Sea to settle the issue of by-catch of North American salmon, which reflected the outcome of informal Japan-U.S. consultations.

As for whaling, Japan withdrew its objection to the International Whaling Commission's decision to ban commercial whaling in July 1986 in line with the Japan-U.S. whaling agreement following a U.S. court ruling in favor of the U.S. Government. As a result, Japan will terminate its commercial whaling at the end of March 1988.



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