TOKYO (majirox news) — Rice consumption in Japan rose for the first time in three years from July 2010 until the end of June 2011, said the the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries July 27.
Ministry officials said greater consumption of the national staple in bento lunch boxes, rice balls and products purchased outside the home was the reason for the 46,000 ton increase, to bring the national total of rice eaten to 8.18 million tons.
But the rise in rice consumption hasn’t necessarily boosted the hopes of ministry officials.
“At this point in time we still don’t know if consumption has bottomed out so we want to keep a firm watch over trends,” a ministry official said.
The ministry has forecast annual consumption at 8.04 million tons for the current year-long period ending in June 2012. It will announce actual results and a revised forecast in November.
Rice consumption has slowly declined in Japan over recent decades as people eat an increasingly Westernized diet.