The National Federation of Agricultural Co-operative Associations (JA Zen-Noh) is scrambling to
correct what Chairman Yoshimi Nakano said about prices of farming materials that the government and ruling parties claim are too high. After saying a week ago that what they have been doing was not wrong, Nakano issued a statement on July 29th saying, “I regret that my words led to a misunderstanding because I did not give a sufficient explanation.” The incident reveals the agricultural organization’s delicate relationship with the government.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japanese farmers are paying double the price for fertilizers and triple the price for agrichemicals compared with South Korean farmers. The government determined the reason for high prices lies in Zen-Noh’s procurement practice, and Shinjiro Koizumi, the Liberal Democratic Party’s Agriculture and Forestry Division head has started to work on reform measures to bring down the prices.
At a meeting on the 22nd Nakano argued, “We need to discuss each complaint in detail before we can say our prices are higher than prices overseas.”
Later, when visiting farmers in Saga Prefecture together with Koizumi, Nakano was criticized by Koizumi for his statements at the meeting. Many in the JA Group feel “Chairman Nakano has lost his poise,” according to a senior official. Their complaints seem to have forced Nakano to change course.