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Digital Technology in Japanese Agriculture

On February 2, 2022 the School of International Regional Studies of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, HSE University, within the framework of the permanent online seminars “Contemporary Area Studies”, organised a meeting with the visiting lecturer of the School of International Regional Studies, Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, HSE University Dr. Ksenia Spitsyna.

The meeting was moderated by Murad Sadygzade, visiting lecturer, assistant head of the School of International Regional Studies of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, HSE University.

Dr. Ksenia Spitsyna in her speech noted that, despite the high level of technology development in Japan, the country's agricultural productivity remains quite low. The reasons lie in the small areas of land used in agricultural production, the absence of large land ownership. the advanced age of most farmers. In agriculture, manual labor is mainly used, which follows from the orientation of producers to the high quality of the product. In addition, the demand for Japanese agricultural products on the world market is constantly growing, which also stimulates the development of the country's agro-industrial complex. However, due to insufficient self-sufficiency, Japan is forced to import about seventy percent of agricultural products, while export volumes are negligible.

Under Shinzo Abe, Japan became an active participant in UN programs on Sustainable Development Goals, which contributed to internal changes. In order to achieve food security, the country's leadership paid particularly close attention to the national agro-industrial complex. At the moment, the key tasks of Japan in the food sector are the introduction of innovations in agricultural production, as well as the creation of infrastructure for sustainable self-sufficiency in agricultural products.

Dr. Ksenia Spitsyna highlighted the methods of solving Japan's food problems. The most important is the appeal to the concept of "smart" agriculture, in which the agricultural industry assumes the use of big data, the Internet of Things, robotics, coupled with the establishment of sales logistics. The potential of "smart" agriculture is very significant. So, with the help of high technologies, vertical crop production, aquaponics (a method of farming that allows growing plants and breeding fish in one ecosystem) can develop in the country, the resistance of crops to climate change will become higher. At the same time, automation of production will reduce labor costs and optimize production management.

Among the steps necessary to achieve the goals set by the state, the development of a system of financial support for the agro-industrial complex of the country, the creation of an early warning system for natural disasters, the use of special equipment (drones capable of spraying fertilizers, tractors operating in difficult landscape conditions) and much more were mentioned. Of course, such transformations are associated with significant costs. Nevertheless, awareness of the severity of the food problem forces the Japanese authorities to take measures to eliminate it. At the same time, international cooperation with world-class giants in the field of technology is being actively established.

In the final part of the seminar the participants had the opportunity to ask the expert all the questions they were interested in.