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Butter

Ben Bullock

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Why is butter in Japan so expensive and always domestic? A year or two ago there was a "butter crisis" and butter completely disappeared from the shelves for a month or two. In Britain, the cheapest brand of butter, Anchor, comes from New Zealand, and it costs less than half of Japanese butter. I guess this is some kind of trade protection, but I wonder why.
 

Chidoriashi

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Probably the same reason any other cheese than ミックスチーズ (mixed cheese), is really expensive, along with meat, rice, cereal and just about every household commodity. I know you are looking for a more academic answer, but I am sure it is just the same old story, of imports, protectionism and striving towards full employment etc.

Though I think over time my feelings have changed about the cost things here in Japan. Somehow it all seems to even itself out, and even though I know most stuff is more expensive here than where I am from it doesn't really bother, or shock me that much anymore.
 

undrentide

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Why is butter in Japan so expensive and always domestic? A year or two ago there was a "butter crisis" and butter completely disappeared from the shelves for a month or two. In Britain, the cheapest brand of butter, Anchor, comes from New Zealand, and it costs less than half of Japanese butter. I guess this is some kind of trade protection, but I wonder why.

I think yo might find the following articles/information interesting.
乳製品の高関税について -わが国は米の関税が490%と高く、米への保護- 経済 | 教えて!goo
乳製品の高関税について
乳製品・農作物の高関税 繊維産業を例にとって - BIGLOBEなんでも相談室
乳製品・農作物も関しても、繊維産業のように、保護政策を撤廃し、関税を下げることは不可能なのでしょうか ?
乳製品の輸入手続き:日本 | 貿易・投資相談Q&A - 国・地域別に見る - ジェトロ
乳製品の輸入手続について
https://www.nochuri.co.jp/report/pdf/r0509wto1.pdf
日本の酪農業とWTO農業交渉
 

Ben Bullock

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Probably the same reason any other cheese than ミックスチーズ (mixed cheese), is really expensive
But at least you can buy imported cheese. I buy cheddar cheese from New Zealand at Hanamasa, and it's about 100-130 yen per 100g. Not really expensive. I've never even seen imported butter, even at the time of the crisis when the butter completely disappeared from supermarkets.
along with meat, rice, cereal and just about every household commodity.
For meat, I can buy chicken breast meat from Brazil for 50 yen / 100 g, or American bacon or fillet pork for 100yen / 100 g. Rice is not imported into Japan but I think cornflakes or granola or other cereals are imported and not incredibly expensive.
I know you are looking for a more academic answer, but I am sure it is just the same old story, of imports, protectionism and striving towards full employment etc.
I don't know about academic answers, I am wondering why butter is such a special case. Since butter isn't really part of the traditional Japanese diet and yet it is on sale at every supermarket. But even when the butter is not available at all they don't sell imported but only stuff which is made in Hokkaido.
Though I think over time my feelings have changed about the cost things here in Japan. Somehow it all seems to even itself out, and even though I know most stuff is more expensive here than where I am from it doesn't really bother, or shock me that much anymore.
This depends on the exchange rate, but the cost of food is not really higher in Japan than in the UK where I come from. Some things are cheaper, and a lot of food is better quality than the UK. Actually sometimes when I go back to the UK I'm surprised that anyone wants to eat some of the food. The best example is British supermarket tomatoes. They are hard and have no taste, and they are expensive too. It seems really weird. Japanese-style tomatoes are a kind of luxury item in the UK.
 
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But at least you can buy imported cheese. I buy cheddar cheese from New Zealand at Hanamasa, and it's about 100-130 yen per 100g. Not really expensive. I've never even seen imported butter, even at the time of the crisis when the butter completely disappeared from supermarkets.

For meat, I can buy chicken breast meat from Brazil for 50 yen / 100 g, or American bacon or fillet pork for 100yen / 100 g. Rice is not imported into Japan but I think cornflakes or granola or other cereals are imported and not incredibly expensive.

I don't know about academic answers, I am wondering why butter is such a special case. Since butter isn't really part of the traditional Japanese diet and yet it is on sale at every supermarket. But even when the butter is not available at all they don't sell imported but only stuff which is made in Hokkaido.

This depends on the exchange rate, but the cost of food is not really higher in Japan than in the UK where I come from. Some things are cheaper, and a lot of food is better quality than the UK. Actually sometimes when I go back to the UK I'm surprised that anyone wants to eat some of the food. The best example is British supermarket tomatoes. They are hard and have no taste, and they are expensive too. It seems really weird. Japanese-style tomatoes are a kind of luxury item in the UK.
I think you should read Undrentide's post, it answers most of your questions.
 

Toritoribe

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Since you seem to have read the links he posted, perhaps you'd like to summarize the salient points.
Here are extracts from the pdf file linked in HER post.

4 乳製品の国境措置と輸入動向
戦後の貿易自由化政策のもとで乳製品の輸入も自由化され、89年にチーズ、90年にアイスクリーム、ホイップドクリーム、フローズンヨーグルトが自由化され、関税率も低下したため、乳製品の輸入量は増加してきた(第2図)。また、牛乳の需給調整にとって最も重要である脱脂粉乳、バターについても、94年に合意したウルグアイラウンドで輸入割当制が廃止され関税化された。しかし、脱脂粉乳、バター等の指定乳製品については関税割当制度が導入され、二次関税率が高く設定されため、輸入量は増えておらず、また脱脂粉乳、バターは国家貿易品目になっており、国内需給動向を勘案しながら政府が輸入量を管理している。乳製品の国境措置の仕組みは複雑であるが、それを整理すると第3表、 第4表の通りである。

乳製品の輸入量が増大して牛乳・乳製品の自給率が低下してきたが、その主な要因はチーズの輸入増大であり、04年度のチーズ輸入量は216千トンで、日本のチーズ消費量の7割以上は輸入に依存している(注)。また、04年度の脱脂粉乳の輸入量は34千トン(うち飼料用30千トン、学校給食用3千トン)であるが、バターの輸入量は8千トンのみである。

現在の二次関税率の水準は、04年度の輸入価格(CIF 価格)で計算すると、脱脂粉乳は159%、バターは394%に当たり、この関税率では輸入価格(a+b) は国産品価格を大きく上回るため(第5表)、関税割当枠外の輸入はほとんど行われていない。

summary

バターは牛乳の需給調整にとって最も重要。
バターは関税割当制度が導入され、二次関税率が高く設定されため、輸入量は増えていない。
バターの輸入量は8千トンのみである。
バターは国家貿易品目になっており、政府が輸入量を管理している。

89年にチーズの輸入が自由化され、関税率も低下した。
04年度のチーズ輸入量は216千トンで、日本のチーズ消費量の7割以上は輸入に依存している。

関税率
チーズ(フレッシュ) 29.8%
チーズ(プロセス) 40.0%
バター 394%
 

Ben Bullock

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Here are extracts from the pdf file linked in HER post.
Sorry if I made you Frustrated.
summary
バターは牛乳の需給調整にとって最も重要。
バターは関税割当制度が導入され、二次関税率が高く設定されため、輸入量は増えていない。
バターの輸入量は8千トンのみである。
バターは国家貿易品目になっており、政府が輸入量を管理している。
89年にチーズの輸入が自由化され、関税率も低下した。
04年度のチーズ輸入量は216千トンで、日本のチーズ消費量の7割以上は輸入に依存している。
関税率
チーズ(フレッシュ) 29.8%
チーズ(プロセス) 40.0%
バター 394%
It's just shoring up inefficient farming practices I think.
 
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Sorry if I made you Frustrated.
It's just shoring up inefficient farming practices I think.
Hmm... People post to answer your question and you reply with snide remarks. Should I take it that you have no clue how to read Japanese, no need to answer b/c you obviously don't.

Goodluck getting any more help Benny boy. And no need to thank Toritoribe for sifting through the links or to Undrentide for finding them for you, they usually do work for free when asked by arrogant ingrates.
 

Ben Bullock

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Hmm... People post to answer your question and you reply with snide remarks. Should I take it that you have no clue how to read Japanese, no need to answer b/c you obviously don't.
Goodluck getting any more help Benny boy. And no need to thank Toritoribe for sifting through the links or to Undrentide for finding them for you, they usually do work for free when asked by arrogant ingrates.
I'm sorry if I made you feel frustrated.
 

Mike Cash

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Hmm... People post to answer your question and you reply with snide remarks. Should I take it that you have no clue how to read Japanese, no need to answer b/c you obviously don't.

I have known Ben via the internet for about a dozen or so years. He is highly educated, highly intelligent (those two are not always found together), and I have every reason to believe his command of the Japanese language is exemplary.

Goodluck getting any more help Benny boy. And no need to thank Toritoribe for sifting through the links or to Undrentide for finding them for you, they usually do work for free when asked by arrogant ingrates.

Oh....I see you've met.

I suspect that at least some part of the reason for the protective policies stems from the fact that in Japan farmers are to Japanese politics what the elderly are to American politics. That is to say, they can be counted on to show up on election day. I believe that the way districts are set up in Japan makes it so that rural (read: agricultural) areas tend to have their votes more heavily weighted (fewer residents per district than urban areas) which has traditionally given them more political clout than their absolute numbers would seem to dictate. The result, quite naturally, is policies which favor and protect them. Politicians who pander to them can count on strong support at the polls. Those who don't risk finding themselves tossed out on their ears.
 
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