Japanese Chemical Trader blog

Japan Chemical Trading Blog

Butter Shortage

It may be surprising to our readers from outside Japan, but recently, the whole of Japan has faced a butter shortage.
If you go to a supermarket in Japan, you often find butter is out of stock, or it is sold at a price considerably higher than before.

There are several direct reasons that led to this problem: the decrease in the number of dairy farmers due to the aging of dairy farmers and the lack of successors because it is difficult to secure profits in the dairy business, and the reduction of raw milk production due to last summer’s fierce heat that affected the health of dairy cattle in Hokkaido, i.e., the rampant of mastitis and the decrease in the number of pregnant cows caused by this disease.

However, it seems that the butter shortage will be alleviated soon because the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan urgently imported 7,000 tons of butter in May 2014, and sold it to dairy manufacturers by the end of November.
Thus, the Christmas season butter demand is expected to be covered. Putting aside the discussion on the pros and cons for import regulations imposed on dairy products for the purpose of protection of national dairy farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, whose policy allowed the butter shortage problem to grow until it was actualized in the consumer market, should reflect upon the consequences.

In Japan, an administrative agency under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries exclusively imports butter.