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Will Japan cut back on food imports?

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) wants to cut food imports that make up more than half of Japan's total supply, helping local farmers at the expense of growers in the U.S., under a ¥1 trillion policy.

Japan, which gets about 60 percent of its wheat shipments and 74 percent of its soybean imports from the U.S., could boost its food self-sufficiency rate to 50 percent by 2019 under the plan, according to Nobutaka Tsutsui, a DPJ lawmaker in charge of agriculture policy. That would compare with a 41 percent rate in the year that ended March 31.

The DPJ is promising to pay farmers when prices drop below production costs and achieve self-sufficiency in "important grains."Japan depended on imports for 59 percent of its food in the year ended March 31, the highest rate among developed countries.

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