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A few weeks ago, our CGD Note, Unwanted Rice in Japan Can Solve the Rice Crisis -- If Washington and Tokyo Act, created quite a stir. Policy makers and the public could not believe that Japan was feeding rice to animals at a time when millions of poor people were going hungry because food prices were unaffordable. Sadly, Tokyo's Ministry of Agriculture still does not get it. Today's press quotes the head of the ministry's livestock department as saying that Japan plans to increase its subsidized sales of rice to its livestock sector by 50% to more than 600,0000 tons. At a time when millions of people are facing starvation, Japan is choosing to turn its rice stocks into cattle feed.

There is still time to act, especially in the run up to the Japan-hosted G8 Summit next month. The Japanese government must act now -- to donate stocks directly to the World Food Programme, release it for sale on world markets and commit its 2008 mandatory purchases for direct shipment to the WFP.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD does not take institutional positions.