Statement by U.S. Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer: Responding to Global Food Price Crisis

May 22, 2008

This week Agriculture Vice Minister Shirasu announced that Japan is considering a request by the Government of the Philippines to provide 200,000 metric tons of rice from Japan’s stocks to help ease the strain of high rice prices. The unique conditions in the global rice market this year, coupled with the growing humanitarian and political dimensions of recent food price increases and natural disasters in the region, warrant extraordinary measures to calm the international rice market.

The United States places a great deal of importance on responding to the current food price crisis. President Bush recently announced approximately $200 million in emergency food aid and has also asked Congress to provide an additional $770 million to support food aid and development programs. The United States welcomes the news that Japan is considering extraordinary measures to respond to this uniquely critical situation.

As part of normal bilateral discussions, USDA Officials will be meeting with their MAFF counterparts in Washington on Friday to share information and plans on our respective programs to address the impact of high rice prices on the global market. All of us at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo will also continue our efforts to facilitate cooperation on this issue.