Japanese farmers have opposed the liberalization of agricultural trade for decades. But with a food self-sufficiency ratio of less than 40%, Japan is highly dependent on food imports. When members of the Japan Family Farmers Movement Nōminren came across La Vía Campesina (LVC), they were attracted by its vision of Food Sovereignty, introduced this to Japan and later became a member organization. By tracing the cooperation over 20 years between Nōminren and LVC member organizations in East and Southeast Asia, this paper investigates Nōminren’s different appropriations of Food Sovereignty in transnational and domestic contexts and in discourse on agricultural trade. The analysis shows that Food Sovereignty’s significance in Nōminren’s domestic debates on agricultural trade declined notably after 2010. This paper argues that this derives from two factors: Firstly, the Food Sovereignty discourse does not acknowledge the particularities of high-income food importing countries with a low food self-sufficiency like Japan and secondly, it only vaguely addresses the relationship between agricultural trade and Food Sovereignty. Thus, the lack of a more concrete vision of how countries who rely on food imports can link agricultural trade and Food Sovereignty constitutes a limitation to the appropriation of Food Sovereignty in these countries.
Jul 02, 2018 | 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM
Room K.18 (basement)
Graduate School of East Asian Studies