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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tokyo Slaps High Tariffs on Rice Imports

TOKYO -- Japan decided Thursday to begin imposing high tariffs on rice imports starting in April of next year, a government official said.

The decision was officially made by representatives from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, the Agriculture Ministry and the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, LDP official Koji Hanai said.

The tariff to be imposed on imported rice will be 351.17 yen ($3.05) per kilogram in fiscal 1999, and 341 yen ($2.96) per kilogram in and after fiscal 2000, Hanai said.

Under the tariff system, the highest-grade U.S.-grown "Tamanishiki" brand, which sells for 300 yen ($2.60) per kilogram in the United States, would be sold at up to 651.17 yen ($5.66) a kilogram in Japan, Kyodo news agency reported.

The United States and other foreign rice exporters have expressed concern about Japan's plans to impose tariffs on rice imports.

Earlier this week, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Foley warned Japan against implementing a rice tariff, saying it could "cripple" imports of U.S. rice to Japan and cause a serious trade disagreement.

Tokyo, however, has shrugged off foreign complaints on the rice issue, saying the duty conforms with World Trade Organization regulations.

Foreign rice imports now account for about 640,000 tons, or 6.4 percent of Japan's total annual consumption.