After promoting the government decision to spread the radioactive waste to whole Japan (Cf. Hosono’s Spread of Radioactivity Decision Promoted by Mainichi Daily News on SurvivalJapan), the Mainichi Daily News discreetly supports domestic butter production policy pushed by the Lifestyle News Department, under the attractive, helpful and seemingly harmless title of : “News Navigator: Is there going to be a shortage of butter?”.
Appropriately, the bottomline can be found at the bottom of the article, quoted hereafter :
“About 80 percent of our butter is produced domestically, so we can’t let our dairy farmers go out of business.”
Incidentally, we learn a detail that will make our mouth water without doubt next time we drink some local milk / drinking yoghurt or eat some local butter / cheese / ice-cream :
“Dairy cows must give birth to calves to produce milk, and are generally impregnated through artificial insemination.”
While Fukushima plumes regularly visit Hokkaido, although MEXT environment readings for this area remain radio-negative, we should be concerned (Cf.
Switzerland Meteocentrale Provides Radiation Dispersion Forecast on SurvivalJapan) because of its economical importance which biaises all official reports about this area as well:
“There are around 1.5 million dairy cows in Japan, of which close to half are in Hokkaido. The majority of domestically-produced butter is made in Hokkaido as well.”
The Mainichi article / government propaganda which starts under the guise of helping curious readers, is reproduced hereafter :
The Mainichi answers common questions readers may have about rising butter prices.
Question: There have been reports that there’s going to be a butter shortage. Is this true?
Answer: The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) announced in early August that it would be receiving an emergency import of 2,000 tons of commercial-use frozen butter. This seems to have contributed to the impression that we are facing a butter shortage.
Q: Why are we importing butter?
A: The simple explanation is that the supply of domestic milk used to make butter has dropped. Dairy cows must give birth to calves to produce milk, and are generally impregnated through artificial insemination. The extreme heat in the summer of 2010 resulted in the poor health among cattle, pushing back the insemination period. This delayed milk production, which would normally have begun in spring, when the cows had given birth 10 months after insemination. Add to that the extreme heat of this summer, and what we have is a decline in the volume of milk produced.
There are around 1.5 million dairy cows in Japan, of which close to half are in Hokkaido. The majority of domestically-produced butter is made in Hokkaido as well, which has been affected by the summer heat.
Q: Can’t the butter from other prefectures make up for lagging production in Hokkaido?
A: The nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant forced dairy farmers primarily in Fukushima Prefecture to dispose of about four tons of raw milk this spring. In addition, the hot summer contributed to a dip in milk production across the main island of Honshu. Because Hokkaido milk was making up for the four tons of raw milk that was dumped, now there’s a shortage of milk there. About 8 million tons of raw milk is produced in Japan, and Hokkaido — which produces half of the national total — is single-handedly supplying the milk needed for products such as cheese, butter and cream.
Q: So Hokkaido is fulfilling a very important role. Is it common for Japan to import butter?
A: There was a butter shortage three years ago due to a drop in milk production, and butter was imported prior to the Christmas baking season when demand for butter rises. According to an MAFF official, pre-emptive measures for butter were taken this year to prevent a repeat of what happened then.
Q: Is it true that butter prices are going to rise?
A: Major dairy manufacturers announced that suggested retail price for home-use butter will go up by 5 yen beginning with butter that is shipped on Oct. 1. This is due primarily to the price of milk rising by 1 yen, to approximately 68 yen per kilogram. With lower milk production leading to decreased earnings and the continued high cost of feed, dairy farmers are struggling to make ends meet.
About 80 percent of our butter is produced domestically, so we can’t let our dairy farmers go out of business. Considering the bind they’re in, a slight rise in prices may be unavoidable. (Answers by Masami Kojima, Lifestyle News Department)
(Mainichi Japan) September 5, 2011