Strengthening of the food supply capacity
Since Japan is the Worldʼs largest importer of agricultural products, it is important to strengthen the food supply capacity developing its agricultural sector in a sustainable way and to raise the food self-sufficiency rate. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze the current state of the elements that make up the food supply capacity-farmland, agricultural water, farmers, and agricultural technology-and implement effective measures for each element.
With respect to the farmland, the government restricts its diversion to secure the prime land and promotes motivated farmers to consolidate the farmland by changing the base of the farmland lease system from landowner oriented to land borrower oriented approach. The government also improves the agricultural land in a comprehensive and systematic manner on the basis of long term land reform program (from FY2008 to FY2012). At the same time, it maintains agricultural infrastructure by securing a stable agricultural water supply function and drainage condition. In addition, the year 2009 is deﬁned as "First Year of the turning‐point for the extensive use of paddy ﬁelds" and the government promotes farmers to use ﬁelds extensively to boost full-scale domestic production of ﬁeld crop, vegetable, fruit, ﬂower, feed crop and so forth. Regarding farmers, the government pursues steady implementation of support measures for core farmers, including the program of direct payment for paddy-ﬁeld farming. It also promotes highly-motivated young people to enter into the agricultural sector through the consultancy for engaging into agriculture and the practical training programs provided by agricultural production corporations.
Regarding agricultural technology, the government accelerates to develop energy-, labor-, and cost-saving technologies. It also creates, protects, and utilizes intellectual property strategically to make fulﬁll the agricultural potential. In this stage, it is strongly expected that Seed will contribute to achieve this goal.
Revitalization of rural areas
The rural areas serve as a foundation for the sustainable development of agriculture, forestry, and ﬁsheries. They also play a role in the provision of employment opportunities and the fulﬁllment of multifunctionality. The government promotes local creativities to revitalize rural areas, revive local economies, and expand employment opportunities.
Regarding the reinforcing the links among agriculture, commerce and manufacturing industry, the government facilitates new rural businesses including promoting the sales of local products and the development of new local products. It also aims to develop human resources and utilize local resources to revitalize local economies. In addition, harmonious co-existence and interactions between urban and rural areas, and the establishment of new farm stands are promoted.
Moreover, the government pays part of the costs for training programs for job seekers aiming to learn technical know-how and business management techniques provided by agricultural production corporations to increase the number of new employment in the primary industry. Concerning the promotion of Japanese food export, the government has set a target of the export value up to 1 trillion yen by 2013. To achieve this target, the government upgrades the export environment and supports highly-motivated farmers, ﬁshermen, food processors and exporters.
Promotion of resources and environmental measures
The government will work on the improvement of agricultural soil as the function of soil organic carbon stock and the visualization of greenhouse gas reduction
effect in the primal industry. It will also develop the sustainable biofuel production technologies which use nonfood resources including rice straws, thinned timber and waste wood. In addition, the conservation of biodiversity in the primal industry will be promoted.