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Japan buys 157,439 T food wheat via weekly tender
June 13, 2013 / 10:31 AM / 5 years ago

Japan buys 157,439 T food wheat via weekly tender

TOKYO, June 13 (Reuters) - Japan's Ministry of Agriculture
bought 157,439 tonnes of food wheat from the United States and
other suppliers in a regular tender that closed on Thursday, but
refrained from buying the U.S. western white variety.
    It was the third weekly tender in a row in which the
ministry avoided the grade after a ban it imposed following the
discovery of a genetically engineered strain of the staple in
Oregon in April.
    Japan is the world's sixth-biggest importer of wheat, and
the ministry keeps a tight grip on imports of the country's
second most important staple after rice.
    The ministry is now starting to look for potential suppliers
should the ban on U.S. western white, which is the only grade
used for cakes and other confectionery in Japan, be prolonged,
Toru Hisadome, a Japanese farm ministry official in charge of
wheat trading, told Reuters.
    The country had a two-month stockpile of U.S. western white
when the ban was imposed in late May.
    "We should check the levels of pesticide if we buy wheat
from suppliers beyond the ones we've already bought from. We
don't know if such suppliers can clear the tough regulations
under the law," Hisadome added.
    Most wheat grown in Oregon is soft white and some is shipped
from the Pacific Northwest as western white grade for milling
use and as feed wheat in Japan. 
    Local production accounts for about 10 percent of domestic
wheat demand.
    The ministry buys about 5 million tonnes of foreign wheat
for milling annually.
    Details are as follows (in tonnes):
    COUNTRY           TYPE                     QUANTITY
    U.S.             *Hard Red Winter          29,481
                      (protein minimum 11.5 pct)
                     *Dark Northern Spring     23,750
                      (protein minimum 14.0 pct)
                    **Dark Northern Spring     40,831
                      (protein minimum 14.0 pct)
    Canada          **Western Red Spring       41,877   
                      (protein minimum 13.5 pct)
    Australia      ***Standard White           21,500
    Shipments: *Arrival by Sept 30
              **Loading between July 21 and Aug 20
             ***Loading between Aug 1 and Aug 31
        Source: Ministry of Agriculture 

 (Reporting by Risa Maeda; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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