TOKYO — Japan will buy 25 tons of frozen butter from the U.S. and Belgium as the nation bulks up its supplies due to a shortfall in domestic production.
New Zealand, however, will supply the lion’s share, at 4602.4 tons, on tenders selected by Japan’s Agriculture Livestock and Industry Corporation, a state trading enterprise, out of a total request for tenders for 7,000 tons.
With 1,892.8 tons, Holland came out second. Other countries winning bids were Australia at 238.8 tons and Germany at 216 tons.
Tenders were accepted on the basis of the lowest price.
Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced May 21 it will import the added butter for commercial use in this fiscal year.
Kyodo News Agency reported the country’s first emergency butter imports in two years as its biggest on record.
MAFF decided on the move to stabilize prices amid a domestic shortage of the product, the ministry said on its Japanese-language website.
Japan’s milk production has dwindled due to last year’s sweltering summer and a decline in the number of dairy farmers, Kyodo reported.
In the Uruguay Round that led to the creation of the World Trade Organization, Japan committed to “minimum access” import purchases for designated dairy commodities of up to 137,000 metric tons in milk equivalent calculation.
The commodities include butter, non-fat dry milk, edible whey, butter oil and dairy spreads. Japan purchases the products through ALIC.
The 7,000 tons of butter Japan will buy is in addition to its minimum access dairy purchases for this fiscal year.
Also because of its milk shortage, Japan will import 4,178 tons of NFDM under its minimum access commitment, MAFF said.
The added imports of butter will be made by the end of November, Kyodo reported.
Japan Dairy Industry Association managing director Tetsuo Ishihara told Capital Press his country will also need to make extra purchases of butter in the next fiscal year.
“We will continue facing a shortage of milk for butter and NFDM,” Ishihara said.