Ministry of Agriculture Video

February 14, 2009

Most of the government agencies in Japan are creating Youtube channels. The cynical side of me wants to add, “so they can pretend that they are reaching out to and receiving the approval of the people”, but I’ll refrain.

So here’s the top video from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.

… and let the debates begin. There’s so much in this video that we could take issue with, not least of which why they decided to make English subtitles for the major points they are trying to make.

There’s the issue of whether changing diets is the cause of Japan’s need to import so much of it’s food, or whether laws interfere with the natural flow business here making competition irrelevant and ultimately making it so that it’s just simpler and cheaper for Japanese companies to import necessary goods. 

… or could it even be that a small, sandy, mountainous, volcanic, gradually sinking island country with half the population of the US and one twenty-fifth the size is having trouble feeding its overcrowded masses. If one subscribes to this idea than the gradually shrinking (disappearing) birth rate is the least of Japan’s worries, or maybe even one of the best things that can happen to Japan. Maybe a little downsizing of all the companies and industries, a little cutting of the fat, a little attention to efficiency and meaning, and a little look in the mirror is what Japan Inc. needs. With the crazy “amakudari” (descent from heaven – when a government official steps down from government directly into a big company and uses his connections, influence, and security clearance to lobby for the company in return for a fat paycheck), and the way that tax money is being used, the country needs some wake up calls.

Note that in the very beginning of the video they point out that 80% of the ingredients in tempura soba are imported now. Then 18 seconds later they say that it’s due to the changing diet (note the hamburger to the left of the guy and the list of things Japanese people have begun to eat – meat, fat, and oil… what is tempura cooked in?)

I didn’t really understand the part about the changing diet resulting in the disposal of more edible food…

They also mention that eating more “meat, fat, and oil” in the developing world is in greater demand for soy and cereal grains, however they don’t outright say how this affects Japan.

The Ministry’s opinion about what should be done starts at around the 3 minute mark. (Notice how fat the couple in the video is after eating their meat, fat, and oil.)

I like the idea of food producers producing what I want, and farmers being more efficient and safety conscious resulting in people eating healthily, safely, and economically… but it’s all talk, and it will be a long time before I believe that professional bureaucrats and government officials in Japan will ever do what’s best for the people the.. ahem… are supposed to be serving.

Sorry people, I don’t know what’s got me ranting so much… Oh yeah, that’s right it’s that Ministry of Agriculture video I mentioned.

Watch for yourself, and keep in mind that there are two levels of “scary” going on here… if the people believe what the government tells them then the “scary” is at yellow. If the government believes what it’s saying then we’re at orange, but if the government is going to try to ACT on these “facts” then we’re blinking bright red!

Anyway, if people are interested in these videos, maybe I’ll make some subtitles for some of the other cool and twisted stuff the government is telling its people.