(Yomiuri: December 10, 2015 – p. 11)
The government has decided to expand financial aid through the “Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Fund Corporation for Innovation, Value-Chain, and Expansion, Japan (A-FIVE),” a government-private sector fund for supporting workers in the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries sectors going into food processing and retailing.
A-FIVE has so far provided support to farmers working to make agriculture a sixth-order industry by engaging in the production, processing, and commercialization of agricultural products. It will now also provide assistance to companies supporting sixth order industrialization efforts, such as domestic and international marketing expansion and branding.
This is a step being taken to enhance the competitiveness of agriculture in light of the basic TPP agreement. Implementation will start in FY2016.
Regulations on capitalization will also be relaxed. At present, joint investment with a regional bank is one of the requirements for receiving financial aid. Joint ventures with food product marketing companies and other enterprises will also be eligible from now on. The idea is to make use of these companies’ knowhow to expand exports of agricultural products.