Japan has a population of more than 127 million people. Crop production is vital to Japan despite limited arable land. Steep land (more than 20°) has been terraced for rice and other crops, carrying cultivation in tiny patches far up mountainsides. With the aid of a temperate climate, adequate rainfall, soil fertility built up and maintained over centuries, and such a large farm population, Japan has been able to develop intensive cultivation. However, Japan remains one of the world’s largest importers of agricultural products.
Japan’s top imported agricultural goods are: maize, wheat, soybeans, and rapeseed.
43-51% of the food energy consumed in Japan comes from crops that are not native to the region. Most of these plants’ diversity is found elsewhere on the planet. There are 302,235 crop varieties in collections of crop diversity found in Japan compared to the more than 700,000 found in the international collections of crop diversity supported by the Crop Trust.
Japan signed the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in 2013, joining 132 other contracting parties in commitment to a global system.