TOKYO, April 4 (Reuters) - Japan’s agriculture ministry refrained from buying food wheat via a regular weekly tender as it felt next week would be a better time, a ministry official said on Thursday.
Japan is the world’s sixth-biggest wheat importer, and the agriculture ministry keeps a tight grip on imports of the second most important grain after rice.
“We thought we could still meet demand if we hold a tender next week or later,” said the ministry official, who declined to be identified in the absence of authorisation to speak to the media.
Japan usually seeks food wheat via tenders that close on the first three Thursdays of every month, but there are exceptions, and ministry officials have said there is no rule that tenders must be held in the first three weeks of a month.
The ministry said last week that it would buy 4.91 million tonnes of foreign wheat for milling use in the year through March 2014 to supplement locally grown grain.
Local production meets about 10 percent of domestic wheat demand.
Reporting by Risa Maeda; Editing by Clarence Fernandez