Discovering the Japanese grain chain
A delegation of some 30 European flour millers went to Tokyo in September 2016. Understanding the Japanese grain chain; the vital role of the government acting as State-trading entity in wheat supply and some of the Japanese business culture & management aspects were some of the objectives of that educational tour, including:
Meeting with local stakeholders
- "Overview of the Japan economic & trade situation" by Mervi Kahlos, Counsellor at the EU Delegation in Tokyo
- "Overview of the agricultural policy in Japan & the vital role of the government acting as State-trading entity in wheat supply" by Mitsuhiro Inamura,Deputy Director of the International Economic Affairs Division, Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (MAFF)
- "The Japanese business culture & etiquette" by Prof Masa Ota, Professor of International Business & Cross-Cultural Management Director, Waseda University
- "Presentation of the Japanese flour milling industry" by Takanobu Urata, Japan Flour Millers Association (Seifun Kyoukai) -
- "Wheat sourcing & trade in Japan" by Wataru Utsunomiya, US Wheat Associates Country Director
- "Opportunities and Challenges for Frozen Bakery Import into Japan" by Oliver Ryf, Managing Director of Aryzta Food Solutions Japan
Visits of local mills in the flour & rice sectors
The flour milling sector is dominated by four big milling companies which have a market share of around 80%. In total there are 96 companies in the flour milling sector, operating 119 mills, with a total capacity of some 8.56 million tonnes. Actual production is put at around 4.82 million t.
Visits of a confectionary factory, a pasta plant and a brewery
The Urawa plant of Lotte Group is producing Koala's March, a biscuit confectionary product. Lotte is one of the largest confectionery manufacturer in South-East Asia. The delegation also visited the Hagaromo Fuji-San factory producing dried pasta as Spaghetti and Macaroni in Shizuoka-City and the Chiba brewery of Sapporo.
Visit of a food ingredient factory
Established in 1914, the Kawasaki Plant is the oldest factory of Ajinomoto Co., Inc. During the factory tour, EU millers were shown how to produce umami seasonings and also learnt the manufacturing process of "Hon-Dashi ®", which is made with great concern for safety and security in raw material selection, manufacturing methods and QC.