TOKYO May 16 Japan could find itself dining on rice, pickles and potatoes if global food supplies keep tightening and imports are cut off, the government warned on Friday.
Just 39 percent of food in Japan is produced at home, the lowest percentage among the major industrialised countries, raising alarm among officials over food security as supplies fall and prices soar.
In a white paper on food and agriculture, the government said eating habits would change radically if the country no longer had access to food from abroad.
Breakfast would consist of a bowl of rice, pickles and boiled potatoes, while dinner would consist of rice, one baked sweet potato and a slice of fish. An egg would appear on the menu only once a week, it said.
"Farms in Japan would have to switch to growing potatoes so people can eat food high in calories," said a farm ministry official.
He said this example was included in the white paper to raise public awareness of Japan's low food self-sufficiency.
"The meals wouldn't be nutritionally balanced, but there wouldn't be a choice, since there would be no imported corn to feed livestock," he said.
Japan is urging people to eat more home-grown food to help raise its self-sufficiency rate to 45 percent by 2015, but consumers have been reluctant to give up on noodles and bread.
Economists also say the target may be tough to reach as farmers age and fewer young people take up agricultural work. (Reporting by Chisa Fujioka; Editing by Hugh Lawson)