Does Japan need to think about adaptation within its own agriculture sector? A case study of initiatives in rice production

Event: 8th International Conference of NAPSIPAG 2011
Date: 15 - 16 December 2011

The ongoing negotiations for the future climate regime have clearly indicated the need for both the developed and developing countries to work together in enhancing the adaptation to climate change. While much of the climate change adaptation debate has long been focused on the developing countries, little emphasis has been made on the need for adaptation among the developed countries and on the question of the relevance of these experiences in helping developing countries to adapt to climate change. Various studies in Japan have indicated possible negative impacts of climate change on Japanese agriculture necessitating speedy response to the impending impacts in agriculture sector in general and in the rice crop in particular. As a result, climate change adaptation is slowly gaining momentum in Japan with both national and prefectural governments promoting research and developmental activities. Prefectures such as Niigata and Miyazaki have started to develop new high quality high temperature tolerant rice varieties to maintain their economy against current and projected warming climate. There are prefectural initiatives on downscaling climate models and introduction of crop insurance mechanisms. However, these actions are limited depending on each prefectures awareness and willingness and leeway in finance. More needs to be done for Japan to design comprehensive policy for climate change adaptation that includes multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral, and multi-level approaches to overcome complex and interdependent issues. This paper concludes by asserting that Japan provides adaptation experiences to share with the other nations in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, while further developing and upgrading its own adaptation practices.