Asahi notes that high petroleum costs is one factor that is driving up the prices of imported food in Japan.
Imported food prices rise as diets change abroad:
Consumers in Europe and China are increasingly switching from meat to fish, a historical staple of Japanese. Prices of salmon, sardines and red bream, for example, have risen by 20 to 30 percent.
The higher price of oil is also driving up fuel costs for boats and other equipment required to bring fish to market.
Yasuhiro Nakashima, assistant professor at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, comments that a shortage of water resources worldwide is holding down production increases of cereal grains which the animals feed on: "High prices and the tightening balance of the demand and supply of food will continue."
Actually, domestically produced food will also become more expensive, as Japan's farmers use petrol for their equipment, and to transport food by trucks to your supermarket. Fertilizers and other agrochemicals are oil-based to a large extent, and while organic agriculture could be a solution, it would also require a huge change in consumption habits, and current organic production methods are hardly well-suited to feeding large amounts of people.
Energy Bulletin has daily updates on these and other issues as well as a lot of thought-provoking articles... Never heard of Peak Oil or Hubbert's Peak? Here is a primer. The Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas is another good resource.
As for the debate here in Japan, Andrew DeWit noted last October that there is perhaps increasing interest in the subject. His article for ZNet What Me Worry? was in response to Nikkei's review of two American books about Peak Oil, but frankly there is no real awareness - as far as I can sense public opinion. An article in the May 2005 edition of the Japanese Oil and Natural Gas Review even dismissed Peak Oil theory, according to DeWit. So for the time being, Japan is sitting on its hands, fiddling with ethanol, while at the same time embracing nuclear energy.
Blogs I Like
- Ad B: Japan Navigator
- Adventures of a (Swedish) Salariman in Tokyo
- Amy: Blue Lotus
- Boing Boing: Wonderful Things
- Brendan: UNU OurWorld 2.0
- Hiroko & Rick: Itadakimasu
- Jared B: Tokyo Green Space
- Joan: Popcorn Homestead
- Jon: Toshogu or As I See Japan... From L.A.
- Justin B: The Rational Pessimist (Climate & Risk)
- Kat: Food Adventures in Japan
- Ken: KenElwood in semi-rural Japan
- Mari: Watashi to Tokyo
- MTC: Shisaku
- Otakimura: In The Pines
- P: Pacific Islander
- Peko Peko: Kyoto Foodie
- Richard H: Spike Japan
- Risa & Kirk: Savory Japan
- Robert: Pure Land Mountain
- Shizuoka Gourmet
- Ten Thousand Things
- Tom: Kitchen Garden in Japan
Links I Like
- News: About Sweden in English
- News: BBC
- News: Der Spiegel (Germany) in English
- News: Deutche Welle
- News: FT Asia (UK, EU)
- News: Kyoto Journal (Japan)
- News: NHK World Society & Others (Japan)
- News: People's Daily (China)
- News: Telegraph (UK)
- News: The Local (Sweden)
- News: Yomiuri Online (Japan)
- News: Yonhap (Korea)
- NGOs/News: Organic Consumers Association (US)
- NGOs: Amnesty
- NGOs: Consumers Union (US) Food
- NGOs: Consumers Union of Japan
- NGOs: Greenpeace
- NGOs: Greenz.jp
- NGOs: Japan for Sustainability
- NGOs: Japan Organic Agriculture Association
- NGOs: Japan Vegetarian Society
- Shops: Alishan Organic Center
- Shops: Eco to Waza (GreenJapan)
- Shops: Warabe Mura
- Stuff: Japan Probe