Members of the Japanese Agricultural Journalists’ Association meet with staff of the Danish Embassy in Tokyo for a pre-Congress briefing on Danish agriculture.
By Kazuko Kano, Japan Agricultural Journalists’ Association
On a sunny afternoon of March 17th, 14 members of the Japanese Agricultural Journalist’s Association, JAJA, attended a briefing conducted at the Danish Embassy. It was held for the purpose of increasing understanding of Danish agriculture prior to the Congress in July. Liaison with the Embassy regarding the event went smoothly-thanks to the efforts of Mr. Masaru Yamada.
The briefing opened with welcoming remarks from the Ambassador, Peter Taksoe-Jensen. The Ambassador showed great interest in the program of the Congress, and briefly discussed Denmark’s position regarding the war in Ukraine. He also highlighted a common goal between Denmark and Japan to become a net-zero emitter of CO2 within the agriculture sector by 2050.
The briefing, which was carried out by Mr. Jesper Vibe-Hanse, Agricultural Counsellor, and Ms. Miho Matsumoto, Senior Commercial Officer, who acted as interpreter, was divided into four parts:
1) Overall introduction to Denmark, Agriculture, and food production
2) Current topics of interest to Danish farmers: Green transition, War in Ukraine and other threats such as veterinary diseases
3) Agricultural education, and
4) Gender equality and the role of women in farming.
“Denmark is a very small country, but a ‘Superpower’ in food and agriculture.” This starting statement was the central theme of the briefing. Denmark has an average temperature of between 1.5 to 17.2 degrees Celsius. Its temperate climate and flat terrain make the nation perfectly suited for agriculture.
Another important element of Danish agriculture is cooperatives. The first coop dairy was founded in 1882, and still now, the agricultural cooperatives are the cornerstone of Danish agriculture. The basic principles of cooperatives are:
1) Equal payment for all members,
2) One member, one vote, and
3) “One for all and all for one.”
Japan also has well-developed agricultural cooperatives, so this was a very interesting topic for JAJA members.
The briefing was comprehensive and included many interesting subjects such as the massive structural development of cooperatives, the increase in milk yields by 46% over the period of 25 years, and so on.
When we left the Embassy, the sky was still blue and we felt a sense of familiarity and connection towards the Danes and Denmark.