Japan ships zillions of cars and trucks to the US and runs a huge trade surplus this way. Meanwhile, the US cannot export even the cheapest, simplest items like say, toilet paper, to the Nuclear Radiation Island. That is, ‘shortages’ in Japan are due 100% to protectionist trade deals that hurt the US and allows Japanese producers to charge outrageous costs on the captive public. So this year, suddenly there is no butter! What a ridiculous situation indeed!
The latest butter deficit has already lasted around two years, with industry data showing consumers have been forking out roughly up to four times more than buyers abroad, while commercial users have been paying the highest prices in about three decades. A 200-gram pack cost about 450 yen this week in Tokyo.
And the shortage could prompt the government to repeat emergency imports, after it shipped in a total of around 20,000 tons of such supplies this year and last. That could be good news in the short term for key dairy exporters such as New Zealand and the Netherlands.
Japan, the United States and 10 other Pacific Rim countries reached the most ambitious trade pact in a generation earlier in October, aiming to liberalise commerce in 40% of the world’s economy.
The deal allows Japan to keeps its complex import quota system under which about 3,000 tons of butter have been shipped in annually over the past three years at a low-duty rate, but adds a new quota of up to about 3,700 tons at a lower tariff still.
However, the new quota only represents about 5% of local consumption. Outside the quotas, the duty is so hefty that butter typically becomes too expensive for private buyers to import.
The Yakuza gangsters of the Liberal Party who rule Japan with an iron fist don’t care if children grow up stunted midgets or even starve to death. They just don’t care which is why all of Japan is rapidly dying. The population in 30 years will be half of today’s population unless the over 70 year old gang dies off really, really fast due to lack of food, care or anything to survive.
Since the summer of 2013, monthly fluid milk production in Hokkaido (the heart of Japanese dairy production, accounting for over 50 percent of total annual fluid milk production) has consistently been two to four percent lower than the previous year (see Table 1). Fluid milk production has been hampered by inclement weather (an extremely hot summer and a severely cold, snowy winter), a shortage of locally grown fodder, and a steady stream of Japanese dairy farmers exiting the industry.
This decline in fluid milk production has in turn suppressed monthly butter and NFDM production levels, both of which are down 10 – 20 percent from the previous year (see Table 3). This drove March ending stocks down to levels of roughly 17,000 MT for butter and 40,000 MT for NFDM (approximately 2. 5 months and 4 months of total consumption respectively; see Table 4). In contrast, since early calendar year 2014, Japanese utilization of fluid milk for the production of domestically produced cream and natural cheese has been climbing to catch up with relatively solid bakery and confectionary demand for fresh cream for desserts and domestic natural cheeses for direct consumption (see Tables 2, 3 and 5). Increased production of cream and natural cheese has limited the availability of fluid milk for the production of butter and NFDM in Hokkaido. Industry sources report that this tight supply situation has persisted through April and May (for which official data are not yet available).
Given the factors suppressing Hokkaido dairy production noted above, Post does not anticipate recovery of fluid milk production until the autumn of 2014 at the earliest. Earlier this calendar year, in response to an already tight supply situation, Japan announced its intent to import 3,000 MT of butter and 5,000 of NFDM under its JFY 2014 current access commitments.
It never ‘recovered’ and the rulers of Japan don’t give a rat’s ass about this, ‘Let them eat buttered toast!’ Abe sneers. Off with his head, I say. And with the heads of our ‘negotiators’ who are as inept as our Pentagon chair-bound cowboys.
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