2019 Volume 128 Issue 2 Pages 337-358
One of the greatest problems of contemporary agriculture in Japan is how to maintain and develop food production. Strategies for sustaining and developing agriculture in Japan are discussed based on 10 previous sample studies that address sustainable farm management representing each district of Japan. The sample studies are on urban agriculture in the western suburbs of Tokyo, rice farming in Hokuriku, field crop farming in Tokachi, double cropping with rice and field crops in Saga, greenhouse farming in Atsumi, fruit farming in Kofu, high-quality beef production in Oshu City, combining vegetable growing with its processing and shipping in Akagi, cabbage growing in Asama, and combining vegetable growing and sales at farm product shops in Hiruzen. The main elements of strategies for sustainable farm management are (1) ensuring capable farm operators, their successors, and farm laborers, (2) building up rational farm management by promoting large-scale or intensified farm operation with advanced technology, machines, and facilities, (3) keeping stable income sources including those both from farm products and non-farm jobs, (4) establishing multiple channels for shipping farm products, and (5) forming networks between producers and consumers. The previous sample studies suggest that locational, physical, economic, social, cultural, and political conditions play an important role in the sustainable development of agriculture and rural regions. Among these, accessibility to large cities, which are the main markets for farm products, favorable physical conditions for farm production, and suitable political conditions are important. Capable and good farm operators establishing efficient farm management and leading rural communities are especially needed to maintain and develop agriculture utilizing their locational and physical conditions. We need to respond to regional differences in order to identify sustainable and viable types of agriculture in Japan.