Comment on Prof. Curtin's Article Concerning Agricultural Reform and Rural Japan
Steve McCarty (Professor, Kagawa Junior College, Japan)
The following is my comment on the article, "Rural Japan Continues its Slow March towards Extinction: Government Announces New Agricultural Sector Reform Proposal" by J. Sean Curtin (Professor, Japanese Red Cross University).
While I agree that the reforms are significant, the article does not clarify the cause-effect relationship to explain how the reforms "will have a major impact on agriculture and accelerate ongoing changes, which have already caused a large swathe of rural Japan to disappear."
Farmers abandoning farming because of old age also does not seem to be the same thing as rural Japan disappearing. I think decades of industrialization and pork barrel construction nationwide have simply urbanized the rural areas. In any case, if the government does nothing, the trend can only get worse with national agricultural self-sufficiency dangerously under 30% and falling.
Some California-style cost-effective farming might even help avert a coming food crisis while helping local economies. Otherwise localities will certainly continue calling for other forms of economic assistance that have a poor track record vis-a-vis the environment.